GPS chips are now smaller than a match head

epson_infineon_gps_chip.jpg

GPS units are getting disconcertingly small: Epson and Infineon’s XPOSYS chip is just 2.8 x 2.9mm and can fit comfortably within the sulfurous volume of a single match head, while still having enough power to stay in contact with orbiting satellites. Gnash your teeth in holy dread, privacy activists: we’re fast zooming into a day and age where GPS nano-chips will be sprayable in a fine mist all over your body as you pass through airports customs. If we’re not there already, we’re rapidly enterting the age of ubiquitous personal trackability, with our only solace being informational mass entropy and the inherent incompetence of bureaucracy.

Press Release [Infineon via Crunchgear]

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to GPS chips are now smaller than a match head

  1. nixiebunny says:

    Yeah, but it needs the following to work:

    1. Antenna
    2. Bandpass filter
    3. Host computer to process the info
    4. Accurate, stable crystal oscillator
    5. Battery (although the 10 milliwatt active tracking power is impressively low)

    So don’t expect them to be distributed like confetti just yet.

  2. spazzm says:

    5. Battery (although the 10 milliwatt active tracking power is impressively low)

    If it’s going to report your location to anyone it will need a cellular modem, as Clay pointed out.

    Cellular modems can easily draw over 2 watts. So we’re talking a cellphone-battery-sized battery, not a match-sized battery.

    So yah, no use soiling our panties just yet.

  3. FatMatt says:

    So we have the chips, now we just need the match manufacturers to play along and we’ll finally have those GPS-equipped matches they’ve been promising for years.

  4. dculberson says:

    It’s amazing how easily GPS signals are blocked. Would it be possible/easy to pick up GPS signals indoors with a good antenna and signal amplifier?

  5. cha0tic says:

    The Model UAV crowd will love them though.

  6. Snider says:

    I am looking for a gps chip that could be implanted under the skin of a pet that I could track where my pet is at all times. I do not understand all this gps lingo. Hopefully you will be able to help me.
    Thanks
    Aileen Snider
    aileensnider@gmail.com

  7. Anonymous says:

    Yeah great.. and you can buy into the techology with Infineon for only a million bucks. They’re really doing the public a great favor, huh?

    What crap.

  8. Takuan says:

    lots of cash to the first to produce a bio-safe EMP shower.

  9. technogeek says:

    #1: Yeah, that was my question. It’s easier to build into devices than previously… but what’s the real minimum volume added to make it reliable, assuming that the device already provides power and processor?

    (And what’s the cost?)

  10. Jarvik7 says:

    Maybe now Canon will put geotagging in the next G series camera. And Apple in the iPod touch and laptops.
    And and and

  11. Steve Huang says:

    Been a racing pigeon fancier, am interested all the time in devices help to track the route pigeon makes home.

    Had just bought a tracking device weighing about 12 gm which can be attached to the neck of pigeon with a nylon rope. This device tells route/height/speed after the pigeon makes home.

    My question(help appreciated):
    1.With new chip, how may grams can above mentioned device be lighten.
    2.If a battery(and others) is added to send message to satellites,what is min. weight can be?

  12. kiltreiser says:

    our only solace being informational mass entropy and the inherent incompetence of bureaucracy.

    Easily the prettiest phrase I’ve read today.

    And Spazzm, we may not need to soil our panties just yet but the point is how quickly we got from having any kind of GPS at all to having chips this size. Just how long to you reckon it’ll take for the miniaturisation process to continue to a point where we really do need to be afraid? Doesn’t seem to me that it’s that far down the road, best start figuring out how to counter potential privacy threats now rather than twisting in the wind once they do arrive.

  13. Timothy Hutton says:

    The post said:

    Epson and Infineon’s XPOSYS chip is just 2.8 x 2.9mm and can fit comfortably within the sulfurous volume of a single match head, while still having enough power to stay in contact with orbiting satellites. (emphasis added)

    To be clear, that is “receive only” contact – this “smaller than a match head” chip has no power, no antenna, no additional logic to store visited locations. You could swallow a handfull of these chips and be invisible to electronic tracking. There is no way this chip can transmit a location to a tracking sattelite.

    When properly outfitted, this would allow you to put a fairly useful GPS logging device in something about the size of large restaurant salad crouton, but that crouton would either need a (relatively) sizeable antenna (1-2″ diamater?) or an extremely clear view of the GPS satellites.

  14. Timothy Hutton says:

    JARVIK7 said:

    Maybe now … Apple in the iPod touch and laptops.

    If Apple can get GPS in the iPhone, they can get it into the iPod touch – they simply lack the will to do so, and that goes double for laptops (though I suspect with laptops they are almost never used outdoors, hence a clear shot of a satellite would be hard inside most offices, homes, hotel rooms, classroome, etc.).

  15. The Boss says:

    we can i find these small gps’s chips

  16. Anonymous says:

    [...]while still having enough power to stay in contact with orbiting satellites.
    This is wrong; the GPS-receiver does not stay in contact with the satellites. The receiver only receives the signal from the satellites, it does not send anything out to space.

  17. Anonymous says:

    When properly outfitted, this would allow you to put a fairly useful GPS logging device in something about the size of large restaurant salad crouton, but that crouton would either need a (relatively) sizeable antenna (1-2″ diamater?) or an extremely clear view of the GPS satellites.

    So, not sprayable, but easily hidden in/on any number of consumer devices. How long before they market self-tracking lojack-equipped luggage? Putting that into luggage tags would seem easy enough.

  18. Timothy Hutton says:

    DCULBERSON – Ask someone with a 3G iPhone, it has a GPS chip inside. (My 1st Gen iPhone doesn’t)

  19. Timothy Hutton says:

    ANONYMOUS – LoJack does not use GPS, at least it didn’t last I looked into it. It is based on radio direction finding (the car transmits a signal, and when a police car goes by, it will detect the signal and point towards it.

    A GPS tag on luggage would only work if the tag could “see” the GPS satellites, as has been proven, OnStar tracking of stolen cars can be defeated with aluminium foil/pie pan over the antenna.

    The antenna I mentioned is too large to hide from a user of the device, IMHO.

  20. Clay says:

    #1: To actually get any tracking done, you’re still going to need some more hardware:

    6. Cellular modem
    7. SIM card (or CDMA programming) with active service

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

 

More BB

Boing Boing Video

Flickr Pool

Digg

Wikipedia

Advertise

Displays ads via FM Tech

RSS and Email

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution. Boing Boing is a trademark of Happy Mutants LLC in the United States and other countries.

FM Tech