You've probably never driven your car off a cliff or walked aimlessly into a 30-foot hole in the middle of a construction site, but perhaps your travels have taken you "through an unsafe neighborhood" or "in an open area that is subject to harsh temperatures." One of Microsoft's
latest patents -- No. 8,090,532 -- aims to make such incidents a thing of the past.
"A route can be developed for a person taking into account factors that specifically affect a pedestrian," Microsoft stated in its patent abstract. "Moreover, the route can alter as a situation of a user changes; for instance, if a user wants to add a stop along a route."
Microsoft's patent for "pedestrian route production" is sort of like a supercharged GPS. It's a three-part scheme that involves collecting data from "at least on information source," analyzing the data based on what the pedestrian needs and his/her past behavior, and then mapping out an appropriate route that won't have the person wandering or driving through landscapes like Mr. Magoo.
It's different from any other GPS because you're feeding the system data via your travels. Based on this information, Microsoft's system "can produce a direction set that is specifically tailored to pedestrian travel" based on data that takes into account user history, weather information, demographic information, and even crime statistics.
It's a neat and logical evolution of GPS for today's technology-dependent generation.