Category: The future

Racer's Edge Laser Wind Sensor

Mar 24, 2010
RacersEdgeFrontView.jpgby Dan Corcoran

Are you able to estimate wind direction and speed from small waves in the water, the movement of clouds, or visual cues from other boats 300, 500, or even 700 meters away? It is a good skill for a sailor to have, but very tough to learn. The Racer's Edge, pictured above, is a high tech wind measurement device capable of measuring wind speed and direction at considerable distances, enabling a sailboat crew to optimize course and sail trim for maximum speed.

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Dan Corcoran (b393capt) | Permalink | Comments (5)

AC on an iPad, Android coming too

Feb 7, 2010

Jeff Siegel of Active Captain (discussed here recently) is the first developer to submit a mock-up showing what his software might look like on an iPad (in response to my challenge), and it's so intriguing it deserves a quickie entry.  It hadn't even occurred to me that POIs could be neatly listed in the order a cruiser would encounter them along a given route.  They can be filtered, too; in this case only marinas offering special deals are showing.  I believe those deals are examples of the co-op advertising AC mentioned in their recent newsletter, and they look like a win-win thing to me.  Altogether, the Active Captain Companion app, which will likely be free, sure looks like a good use of the iPad's portability, connectivity, screen size, and extra interface options.  Jeff plans something similar for Android phones and tablets using the Layar environment.  I'm hoping we'll see more marine mock-ups for all these platforms.

ARGUS, harvesting depth data the ambitious way!

Jan 13, 2010

The concept is pretty sensational:  The ARGUS (Autonomous Remote Global Underwater Surveillance) system would equip volunteer vessels with a custom WiFi transceiver that is connected to the nav system for GPS and depth, and that can automatically upload the resulting data files (when possible) to a shore server where it's collated and quality controlled before being turned over to NOAA so it can better manage its dredging and charting responsibilities.  If it all works out as hoped, the volunteers might even get the equipment for free and be able to use the WiFi connection for their own Internet needs...

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Trends in marine electronics, your thoughts please!

Oct 21, 2009

I'm working on a January Yachting feature about trends in marine electronics, and I'd appreciate your feedback.  One thing I'm fairly sure of is that multifunction displays have come a long way in recent years, and justifiably dominate the mid size boat market.  I took a solo overnight expedition last week, and had to note again that each of the four MFD/radar systems currently installed on Gizmo is pretty darn powerful.  Especially if you imagine yourself five to ten years back in marine electronics.  Note how the Garmin 24HD radome is imaging and overlaying that low ledge seen off to starboard, without any tuning, and also the NMEA 2000 data flowing onto the 5212 screen (and every other display aboard).  Note, too, the iPhone on the dash -- right then running SailTrac, a trip tracking and blogging program I'll write about soon -- and the Standard Horizon HX850S, which also has a GPS and is ready to call in the cavalry via DSC should I screw up.  There are many trends to consider...

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Raymarine C Series Widescreen, really new

Jan 11, 2009


All hail Richard Brain. While the Consumer Electronics Show, year-end “best new…” lists and patent searches may all offer 2009 marine electronics possibilities, the real deal—mainly a passel of very interesting Raymarine preview products—is being shown at the London Boat Show. And Richard was kind enough to collect brochures, photograph them, and email them to me for your Panbo pleasure. So let’s thank Richard and say hello to Ray’s new “Widescreen” C Series, which is truly different from the original…

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Furuno FLS, the hope lives on

Jan 8, 2009


One enterprising, if anonymous, Panbot has apparently been searching out filings at the U.S. Patent Office, and discovered some interesting recent activity regarding Furuno Electric Co. and Forward Looking Sonar (FLS). You may recall that Furuno previewed the “FL-7000” at the NMEA Conference in 2005, but then scrapped the product, purportedly due to inconsistent performance. That entry and its comments demonstrate well my personal enthusiasm for improved FLS and the current state of the technology (valuable but limited, with ongoing incremental improvements). Well, patents are hard to read, and don’t necessarily mean much, but…

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Best new tech 2008, boat goodies?

Jan 5, 2009


Just like last year,’s excellent Best of What’s New 2008 edit package is rich with tech that might one day trickle up to yachting. For instance, couldn’t a version of the Lexus super wide-angle integrated cameras seen above be useful in docking? How about a satellite able to deliver 1.2 gigabit/second Internet to modest terrestrial antennas, and even modulate signal strength based on its own weather analysis? In the always exciting megayacht toy department are a trio of flying things: the world’s first production jetpack, an easy-to-fly folding-wing float plane, and an amazing RC helicopter. And isn’t Honda’s first-ever hydrogen production car a hopeful milestone? There’s more to be sure…

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New Year's wishes, of the marine electronics kind

Jan 1, 2009


Aside from Panbo’s able crew of regular commenters—some of whom I’ve gotten to know personally, and all of whom I appreciate—the sixty thousand plus unique monthly visitors here are a somewhat mysterious mishmash of marine electronics enthusiasts, product info searchers, and trades people. (Feel free to speak up your own self, and apologies in advance for the somewhat cranky comment system, which will be improved in 2009.) Actually I also personally know a lot of folks in the trade who read Panbo regularly, and have been told that several companies have a designated monitor tasked with passing along relevant entries and comments to management. How 2009/Web 2.0 cool is that? And it means that if you’d like to express your wishes for the marine electronics future, you will be heard. Russ Irwin, proprietor of the data mishmash above, gets the first word (and credit as instigator):

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Golden Shellback, waterproof your gadgets?

Jul 31, 2008

Golden Shellback blackberry

That’s a Blackberry getting dunked in pan of water, which it apparently survives just fine, thanks to a new “vacuum deposited” polymer coating process called Golden Shellback. You can see the CNET video “Waterproof your gadgets” below, Gizmodo filmed a cell taking a call while in a glass of ice water, and Tekzilla had some fun with an iPhone. But I’m a little confused; all these tech sites talk about “waterproof” but Golden Shellback itself clearly calls its technology “splash proof.” Many of us know from handheld VHF history that there can be a big difference.

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Jensen NVX3000PC, a car/boat computer?

Apr 18, 2008


Smaller, faster, cheaper! I’m wondering if some of the new automobile computers, like this Jensen NVX3000PC, wouldn’t work pretty nicely on a boat. You got your built-in GPS, 7” touch screen, 30 gig drive, Windows XP, SD card slot, dual USB ports, 12v and li-ion power supplies…even WiFi and a remote control. There’s also the Azentek Atlas CPC-1000, which apparently adds AM/FM/Satellite/HD audio, a CDRW/DVD/MP3/WMA drive, Bluetooth, and CANbus integration. And no doubt there are others, at least concepts. I don’t know if any of these things are actually shipping, and I’ve heard that states like California are clamping down on how much computing you can do, or visual entertainment enjoy, while driving…which might impede developments. But isn’t some sort of inexpensive, mass market computer going to make sense afloat?