"Quantum accelerometers" will help determine the position without the help of GPS

Today's popular geolocation and navigation systems, such as GPS, GLONASS and Iridium, have an Achilles' heel - they depend on the operation of a flotilla of satellites and receiving signals from them. If you happen to be in the basement or in the subway, there is no chance of finding your location.

An alternative could be systems based on accelerometers, which calculate the position of the carrier from its displacement relative to a known reference point. And there are already such ones, but they need constant calibration and, in addition, they work with a large error, which is why the deviation is constantly accumulating. M Squared engineers and scientists from Imperial College London, who designed a "quantum accelerometer", took over to correct this deficiency.

His idea is based on the fact that at ultra-low temperatures matter acquires the properties of a wave. To achieve this, in an experimental setup, a powerful laser cools a cloud of atoms until they show wave properties, after which they are passed through the accelerometer chamber. Any displacement of the object itself affects the parameters of the wave - by tracing these distortions with a laser interferometer, it is possible to calculate with high accuracy where and how the entire structure managed to displace over a given period of time.

Such a system is distinguished by an extremely high positioning accuracy - however, while measurements are taking place only in one plane, and not in three-dimensional space. Additional radiation sources need to be added, but lasers are too bulky and energy-intensive for everything to be solved so easily. Because of this, the use of quantum accelerometers in mobile gadgets will not be available soon, although they are already quite suitable for work on ships and trains.