‘Quantum Compass’: Navigation technology that might replace GPS


GPS is synonymical identified with navigation and is a commonly used for positioning technologies. GPS is one of the best inventions of the internet age but there are a few issues that limit the usage of GPS. The fact that GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) are based on Satellites mean that they cannot be used if there are signals e.g. inside a cave, underwater, inside the parking lot: The drawbacks of Space based technology.

GPS_SatellitesScientists from UK claim to have found a way to replace GPS and without any kind of space based technology. It all started with research findings that revealed that LASERS can trap and cool atoms placed in vacuum. How cold? To temperatures just a millionth of a degree above absolute zero and of course, The research went onto win the Noble Prize. At these temperatures, atoms are extremely sensitive to changes in Earth’s Magnetic and Gravitational field.

Scientists at the UK Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DTSL) have utilized these research findings to trap the atoms on a small device, study their fluctuations to allow them to track their movements and pinpoint their locations with precision.  At the moment, trails have been carried out using a device that is roughly 1 metre in length. The key really lies in the ability to create these devices at miniature sizes that can then be fitted inside a Smartphone.

Quantum Compass

Quantum Time, Navigation and Sensing (TNS) technologies could really change the way we navigate in the future. One of the biggest advantages of using Quantum Compass is that there is no known Physical law that can disturb these devices unlike the GPS which is vulnerable to attack and disturbance.

While this technology is perhaps more interesting to Militaries around the world with the ability to locate underwater and no vulnerability, it is only natural that with time this could really change the Navigation world. Already we had several interesting research papers on utilizing the magnetic field of the earth for positioning and navigation, this is perhaps the biggest research to have emerged in that direction. 

Aside from navigation, quantum clocks could also be a lucrative market around the world.

The exploitation of quantum mechanics that underpins the laws of nature at the smallest length scales has already given the world a wealth of new technologies including semiconductors, microprocessors, lasers, nuclear energy, thermal imagers and digital cameras. – DailyMail

Quantum Compass: Navigation Technology of the future? What do you think? Let us know 🙂

Source: DailyMail


I am one of those passionate "Geo-geeks" and "Geo-people" who is just too excited about everything Geo and Management. Location information and spatial technologies are just too big to take a back seat and watch them revolutionize the world. Always curious and looking for ways to innovate, I guess that it comes naturally by the gene pool I inherited from an engineer Mom and a researcher Dad.