7 thoughts on “Experimental Theater Helps Field Test Haptic Navigation Device

  1. Marvelous, absolutely marvelous. I’ve been waiting for ideas like these. I’m not fan of the Apple Watch per se. I think the tiny screen makes it impractical for most purposes. But I do think that, in their efforts to make it functional, Apple stumbled on some haptic feedback ideas that could have great potential.

    As a insult to those you’re meeting with, looking at your Apple watch when every text message comes in is no better than looking at your iPhone. But a specific vibration that tells you and you alone that a certain message has come in could be socially acceptable.

    Or as a guide to getting about like the above device, people navigating about a city on foot, would not have to keep looking down at their smartphone. Their turns could be signaled by a haptic bracelet on their wrist or foot. A vibration on the right would mean to turn right at the next corner. That sort of thing.

    And that would achieve the grand goal of every tourist—an ability to get about a strange city without looking like a foolish tourist who must keep looking down at a map or smartphone.

    1. I wonder if it’s possible using haptics and some fancy multiplexing to make it feel like you’re being pulled toward your destination. I imagine one of those belts studded with pager motors using them to trick the body into feeling like a rope is pulling you a certain direction.
      Not really any more practical than a single buzz in the intended direction, but a cool trick IMO.

    2. Funny you say that: I have a very basic Xaomi Mi fitness bracelet and it’s really cool feature is a haptic motor. It has no screen, just the motor and 3 LEDs. The phone App, however lets you do some stuff with these features:

      1. set an alarm that buzzes the bracelet. I can wake up early for work and not disturb my wife or others

      2. Buzz when the phone is ringing (and display a customer LED color different that the device status LED color).

      3. Apparently with Xaomi and Android phones, you can also set up buzzing for text messages and possibly other alerts (I have an iPhone so not really sure)

      With access to the API, one could easily cycle the LEDs Left to Right or Right to left to indicate a direction and/or use different colors to indicate forward or backward.

      Oh yeah, by bracelet tracks speels so I can see how well I slept (or didn’t at night) and counts “steps” (not that impressed with the accuracy). The think is, due to the minimal interface, it was able to be enclosed and IP-67 rated, so it’s mostly waterproof and dustproof. It also lasts around 40 days on a charge (it’s helpful to not have to recharge every night when you are trying to track sleep).

      I think small haptics are the future.

  2. Someone should program a WatchYourStApp for smartphones that tells users when obstacles appear and what to do (stop, duck, jump, return to reality…).
    There’ll be always one camera pointed to the floor to do OpenCV on…

  3. ‘…became so attached to their device that they were upset by the ending of the play, which involved its mock confiscation and destruction’. So they’ve made us a Companion Cube then?

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