We all know that using a device that has GPS navigational capabilities would drain the battery life of said device at an incredible rate, but sometimes, that is a necessary evil, especially when you are constantly on the road and need to get around in an unfamiliar territory. The reason behind it is this – GPS eats up your battery fast because of the sheer amount of information that it has to receive before computing and processing it, resulting in your location. Majority of the standalone GPS receivers retrieve their data from the satellites orbiting the Earth directly, before it spends up to 30 seconds or so to process the information. Microsoft Research hopes to put an end to the long wait with their technique that they call, Cloud Offloaded GPS (CO-GPS).

CO-GPS will see all the relevant computing work done in the cloud, and the designed prototype known as CLEO managed to push raw GPS data to the cloud for processing, ending up with high precision location information alongside a dramatic reduction in power consumption. We are talking about three orders of magnitude less power consumed compared to what modern day smartphones use. For illustration’s sake, a pair of AA batteries will theoretically enable CLEO to sustain continuous GPS sensing ( at 1s/sample granularity) for 1.5 years (!).

Filed in Gadgets. Read more about GPS and Microsoft.

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