Behold, the "Coffee Finder".
Sarin, a Microsoft researcher, created a wooden box with what looks like an old maritime compass on it. No matter where he goes in Seattle, the box's needle points to the nearest Starbucks.
The box contains a GPS antenna, a magnetometer and a computerized list of Starbucks locations in Seattle. The setup was slightly ridiculous — even Sarin admitted that no one's going to walk around holding something like that — but the point was to show that you don't need a fancy gadget for everything, especially when your brain is demanding a caffeine fix.
It's a little cumbersome looking, but what a great use of GPS! Actually, I think my way of finding the nearest Starbucks is even better. I simply open my eyes and turn around. Come on, this is Seattle! There are few places where you can stand and not see at least one coffee shop.
This was just one of the creations discussed in the Seattle Times article today covering Microsoft's TechFest. Read on right here.