Google Patents 'Street View' Walking Sticks

Soon, hikers might be helping map the world as they walk

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 19, 2013 12:33 PM CDT

(Newser) – First, there were Google Street View cars. But cars can't go everywhere, so next came Google's Trekker, a big contraption worn like a backpack that snaps photos off the beaten path. What's next? Think smaller. GeekWire reports that the company just scored a new patent: "It’s a walking stick with embedded cameras and location sensors, and a switch at the bottom that causes the device to snap pictures whenever the stick hits the ground." It can also be applied to canes, crutches, and things like trekking poles.

No word on when the invention might go into production/be put to wide use. While plenty of privacy-loving hikers might hope "never," Ray Willington at Hot Hardware has a different take. If Google is "investing production resources on Glass, surely it could do the same here," he writes. "Imagine being able to map out places of thousands of walkers at once; suddenly, the global mapping task would seem a lot less daunting."

Google already uses these backpack-like devices to collect images where cars can't go. Walking sticks are apparently next.
Google already uses these backpack-like devices to collect images where cars can't go. Walking sticks are apparently next.   (AP Photo/Google)
A car with roof-mounted digital imaging equipment circles neighborhoods in Racine, Wis., in this file photo.
A car with roof-mounted digital imaging equipment circles neighborhoods in Racine, Wis., in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Journal Times, Mark Hertzberg)
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