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chip-scale combinatorial atomic navigator (C-SCAN)

An advanced global positioning system that does not require GPS satellites to accurately determine the precise location of a given point on earth. Developed by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the technology uses micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and atomic inertial guidance techniques to form a new single inertial measurement unit in a project designated the "chip-scale combinatorial atomic navigator" or C-SCAN.

The C-SCAN chip aims to perform positioning functions that are currently served by orbiting GPS satellites. The chip would constantly know where it is in space-time, and would have this knowledge without having to ping a satellite. One major benefit of C-SCAN technology is that it works all the time. Unlike today's GPS system that goes out of service when the navigation device is placed inside a building and it often has to spend time when need it the most to re-search for satellites signals, C-SCAN chip doesn't require line-of-sight communication with a satellite so it works all the time. Another important benefit is that traditional satellites are vulnerable to space based weapons systems.

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