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Microsoft patent helps walkers stay safe

Software to help pedestrians
Wed Jan 04 2012, 14:47

SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft has been granted a patent that could help mapping software users avoiding straying into bad neighbourhoods.

First spotted by Geekwire, the patent was granted this week and has a rather charming abstract. "As a pedestrian travels, various difficulties can be encountered, such as traveling through an unsafe neighborhood or being in an open area that is subject to harsh temperatures," it says.

"A route can be developed for a person taking into account factors that specifically affect a pedestrian. Moreover, the route can alter as a situation of a user changes; for instance, if a user wants to add a stop along a route."

Mapping software for walking has different considerations than driving alternatives, according to the patent, and must take into account things like the facts that people will not enjoy walking up rugged terrain, which would be easy in a car, or could take routes based on their own idea of personal security.

Microsoft suggests that its patent could help the software learn its user's preferred route by looking at small pieces of metadata. This could mean that users take routes that are safest, most likely to take them by places that they like or are easier, if they are an older pedestrian, for example.

It could also be used by firms looking to market goods to walkers, and Microsoft suggested that retailers could direct shoppers to their goods and give them some sort of a voucher or offer as a reward. µ


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