Navigation Device Lets You Feel Your Way Through A City

By Claire Maldarelli in Popular Science (4 September 2015).

The Animotus Device. Courtesy of Adam Spiers

Navigating through a crowded city like New York or London can be a challenge, especially for those who are visually impaired. Adam Spiers, a postdoc in robotics at Yale University, set out to create a tool that helps visually impaired individuals easily follow navigation instructions. His tool, a 3D printed device called Animotus, sits in the palm of your hand and changes shape to guide you to your destination by touch.

The Animotus communicates in two ways. The top piece twists right and left to indicate the direction the traveler should turn, and slides forward to show how far in that direction the user should move. Once it’s ready for the next directional step, the top piece slides back into its original place.

“The idea is that it relies only on the sense of touch,” Spiers said. Spiers opted out of using vibrations or sounds as they can quickly become distracting for visually impaired individuals, especially in a big city where pedestrians are constantly bombarded by noise.

How the Animotus device works. Courtesy of Adam Spiers

The project was funded by NESTA, an independent charity organization in the United Kingdom.

Read more here.

Source: Navigation Device Lets You Feel Your Way Through A City

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