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Earth engulfed by a solar storm that could disrupt GPS & power grid



By NewsGram Staff Writer

A huge solar storm that could disrupt the power grid and GPS, as well as result in making beautiful auroras visible to people has been reportedly found to be engulfing the earth.

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), what was most likely a blast of magnetic plasma, shot out of the sun on Sunday, traveling faster than usual, bringing with it the biggest solar storm, perhaps since March.

Scott Kelly, an American astronaut who is currently on the International Space Station tweeted about the auroras.

I’ve never seen this before- red #aurora. Spectacular! #YearInSpace

— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) June 22, 2015

Day 87. The red curtain of an #aurora closes on another day. Good night from @space_station#YearInSpace — Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) June 22, 2015

Yesterday’s #aurora was an impressive show from 250 miles up. Good morning from @space_station#YearInSpace

— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) June 23, 2015

Occurrence of solar storms is caused when the sun shoots out a big burst of gas and magnetic fields. They then travel through the solar system and hit Earth.

They can cause huge disruption when they hit the Earth, but their force and effects vary. What also varies is the ability of different parts of the world to deal with these disruptions, based on their geographical set up and other factors like insulation from disasters.

As reported by a UK based website, the storm arrived on Monday afternoon and was likely to last up to a day or even longer.

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Copyright 2015 NewsGram

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Super Shoes: Step in your shoes and it will tell you where to Go

smrtGRiPS comes with a similar concept in which bicyclists get to know the directions using a special handlebar grip that connects to a device via Bluetooth

easyjet supershoes. Image Source:

What if you’ve never been to a place and missing on the amazing views by just looking at the GPS navigation system on your smartphone? Fret no more, there is a super solution to this.

EasyJet, a European airline company is working on a concept named smart shoes. They named it “Sneakairs” in which the vibrations will be sent to to the wearer’s feet when it’s time to make a turn. This is one of the latest attempts at a tactile navigation tool.

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In a video published the company they have said that “Synchronize your shoes with your phone, choose your destination, put your phone away and enjoy the views”.

The mechanism of this shoe is quite simple. If one needs to make a right turn his right shoe will vibrate. Similarly, if he wants to go left then his left shoe will vibrate. More importantly, if someone has missed the turn, then both the shoes will vibrate twice. That will indicate that you need to go back and rectify your footsteps. Lastly if it vibrates 3 times that will mean that you have reached your destination.

This is built with a miniaturized Arduino clone (an open source hardware). It has a Bluetooth module along with a tiny motor which vibrates every time. Bluetooth helps in connecting this with your device.

This computer hardware fits into a smart shoe prototype called Sneakairs, unveiled recently by European airline easyJet. The shoes help walkers find their way around through directional vibrations. easyJet
This computer hardware fits into a smart shoe prototype called Sneakairs, unveiled recently by European airline easyJet. Image source: easyJet

Coming to the navigation system, it uses Google Maps API to create it’s on pedestrian navigation app. This GPS will run as the background process. So one easily put his/her phone away. No need to constantly look for the directions. However, no official date of release has been decided yet by the company.

This isn’t a new project. Several trials have been done in the past. Anirudh Sharma, a researcher in Banglore, India, designed a vibrating navigation device built into a shoe to help blind people. In 2014, Sharma along with his partner Krispian Lawrence announced that it’ll be available for every person. They named their shoes ‘Lachal‘.

Another researcher at the MIT named Dhairya Dand developed a similar concept called “SuperShoes”. Those were insoles that could be tucked into a regular pair of shoes . Dand said on his website “The shoes are based on a tickling interface, Left toe tickles – turn left, right toe tickles – turn right, no tickle – keep going, both tickle repeatedly – reached the destination, both tickle once – recommendation, both tickle twice – a reminder.”

Similar is the concept with smrtGRiPS in which bicyclists get to know the directions using a special handlebar grip that connects to a device via Bluetooth. The left grip will vibrate to turn left and so does the right grip when a right turn needs to be made.

We are living in a generation where haptic feedback isn’t enough. The Apple Watch has also a feature of haptic direction. With these new innovations one day we’ll get them in our feet, wrists and hands too .


-by Pritam

Pritam is pursuing engineering and is an intern at NewsGram.Twitter handle: @pritam_gogreen