Aweigh is an open source navigation system that does not rely on satellites: it is inspired by the mapping of celestial bodies and the polarized vision of insects.

/cc: @neauoire @rek

This is one of the coolest projects I've seen in awhile. Think this is going to be moving toward the top of my "To Build" list.

@xj9 @socalledunitedstates @Zuph @DJWalnut @solarbear @xuv

@xuv @neauoire @rek Does it really work, or is it another of these "design concepts"? I've seen several from the Royal College of Art before that turned out to depend on non-existent hypothetical technology.

@mattskala @neauoire @rek That's a very good question. I did not take this into account. I guess one of us will have to try.

@xuv @neauoire @rek One reason I'm doubtful is that if this worked to the kind of accuracy that's implied, then the military would already be using it; and they don't seem to be.

@rek @neauoire @xuv @mattskala

assuming it works, it may not be accurate enough for military applications. doesn’t mean it can’t be a good nav tool for civilians.

@xj9 @rek @neauoire @xuv I think if it's good enough for civilian use and doesn't require satellite support then it would *definitely* be of great interest to the military. Even 100m accuracy - which would be disappointing for the average person accustomed to present-day cell phone GPS - with just an Arduino level of electronics would be a big deal for missile guidance.

@mattskala @xuv @neauoire @rek The SR-71 used to have navigation based on well-known stars, but the aweigh home page only says that it measures the sun's position. So that would be "celestial body" not "celestial bodies".

It also needs a real-time clock. I'm not sure if the SR-71's star tracker had that problem.

@CharredStencil @xuv @neauoire @rek A lot depends on the precision. If you need real time to one second, okay, no big deal although setting your clock accurately without using a reference that ultimately comes from GPS will be interesting. If you need microseconds, not so easy. Similarly, measuring the position of a star (including the Sun) to one degree is a lot easier than to one second of arc.

@CharredStencil @xuv @neauoire @rek Traditional celestial navigation (with a sextant and so on) can do star positions to one second of arc, which is what you need to even approach GPS, but only with expensive precision optics and a trained user. For doing it automatically, optical encoders good to that precision are *to this day* on the export-restricted-because-of-military-applications list, at least from Canada.

@n8 @neauoire @rek It says it works with clouds. But I think daylight is necessary.

@xuv @neauoire @rek Though it should be noted that GPS itself already relies on quasars for absolute positioning, so it really just comes down to which 'sars you trust more.

@xuv I'm not sure to understand how does this work in practice.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

Revel in the marvels of the universe.