Forearm-mounted GPS uses LEDs to light the way home


While some people can rely solely on memory and landmarks to find their way home, others need a bit more help. Consider Instructables user [_macke_] for instance.

Like other screenless GPS navigation devices we have seen, his “Find Home Detector” uses a GPS module to obtain his location, guiding the way home via a set of alternate indicators. In this case, he uses LEDs which are laid out like a compass rose. When [_macke_] is aimed toward his destination, the LED nearest to his fingertips lights up, letting him know he is on the right path. As he turns away from home, the other LEDs light, indicating the direction in which he should turn.

His forearm-mounted GPS navigator uses a LilyPad Arduino to control the system, much like others we have seen. It is connected to a GPS sensor and a compass module that work in concert to guide him home. The compass is responsible obtaining his heading information, and while it might look as if the LEDs that surround the module are pointing North, they are in fact indicating the heading of his destination instead.

It’s a cool little creation, and we can imagine it would be quite helpful if you happen to be walking home after a long night of drinking.

Be sure to check out the video below for a quick demonstration.


  1. Aaron says:

    Oh now that’s just awesome.

  2. Crsh_ovrdrve says:

    This would be amazing as an add on module for Android. Maybe in version 2 it could interface with google maps and act more like a satnav. Still incredibly useful though. Great hack!

  3. RandomReader says:

    not bad, would be cool if someone could fit all that was needed into a compass and had multiple destinations (such as home, pub, friends house, local electronics store ect), captain jack style hehe

  4. Morbious Stone says:


  5. Norcalli says:

    One step closer to a personal pip-boy 3000.

  6. M4CGYV3R says:

    Alcoholics everywhere are now rejoicing.

  7. spag says:

    I did pretty much the same thing when I made a new dash for my motorcycle. It has multi-colored LEDs in a similar ring – blue for North, green for selected destination, red for home. It does all sorts of other things too, but that’s one feature :) I’ll submit it here once I get off my butt and write it up.

  8. Sqelch says:

    Man I hope you do that soon I would love to see it

  9. Aaron says:

    @RandomReader – Like the Bushnell BackTrack?

  10. Greg says:

    I *really* want a system like what you built for your bike…will pay you some moolah to post a writeup/source code so that we can all have it…
    logicwire *at* gmail dot comm

  11. Hirudinea says:

    Why not do somthing similar with sound, tone in left headphone to turn left, right for right and different tone for heading straight home.

  12. Luke says:

    It brings to mind the little navigation indicator in video games. You know that arrow that point to the objective that usually wants you to walk through a wall to get where your going.

  13. Luke says:

    It brings to mind the little navigation indicator in video games. You know that arrow that points to the objective that usually wants you to walk through a wall to get where your going.

  14. medwardl says:

    hows it respond to sweat?

  15. djzeus says:

    >>It brings to mind the little navigation indicator in video games.

    I would LOVE to see a version of that with some sort of visual overlay.

    I think this could also be accomplished with a small disk you could fit in your pocket. It puts small pressure on the surface for the direction to go. That way it would be less invasive.

  16. giacomo (spag) says:


    There have been experiments done on human neural plasticity in which belts lined with pager motors were worn by test subjects. The motor pointing North would vibrate. After a while, the brain would integrate the belt as an extra sense, leading to a vastly improved navigational ability. I’ve always wanted to build such a belt (probably in anklet form), but I haven’t yet. It would probably be too bulky to wear all the time.

  17. JasonTusi says:

    this project is very cool,i love it

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,672 other followers