Researchers have designed a new vibrating navigator belt that guides
cyclists by tickling them with coded buzzes and with directional nudges
just before each turn.
Like satnav for a cyclists waist, the "vibrobelt" helps guide cyclists and has proven successful in early tests.
uses vibrating actuators that indicate left, right, backward and
forward turn directions, and even tickles the user with coded buzzes
that tell them how far they have to go to their destination.
by Haska Steltenpohl of the Intelligent Systems Lab at the University
of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the system aims to give cyclists a
"heads-up" navigator, allowing them to keep their eyes on the road after
they have chosen their destination on a GPS smartphone.
They simply set off and get directional nudges from the vibrators just before each turn, 'New Scientist' reported.
see if the vibrotactile navigation compared well with using a standard
GPS map on a handlebar-mounted smartphone, 20 volunteers tried both
methods on a variety of unfamiliar routes.
While all the cyclists
reached their destinations successfully, the researchers noted an
important difference: when questioned about landmarks they had passed,
the vibrobelt users proved much more aware of their surroundings en
route than those who were constantly glancing at a GPS screen.
researchers plan to reveal their system and research results at the
annual Intelligent User Interfaces conference in Santa Monica,
California, in March.
It's not the first time "vibro" navigation has been tried, however.
The US military is trialling a system that guides ground troops to targets in a similar fashion.