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Haptic GPS shoes promise more freedom for the visually impaired

I really hate admitting this but I do tend to get lost easily and rely heavily on GPS systems for all my business travel. A recent trip to New York had me absolutely lost when I had to walk from my hotel to meet up with David and Ramon for dinner and some refreshments. As terrible as I am with directions and finding locations, I could not imagine being blind and having to Live in New York. I suppose seeing eye dogs and a walking stick are the most common aids for the visually impaired, but what if you could be guided magically by a pair of shoes? No, I don’t mean something “magical” like strapping on a couple of Apple’s iPad to your feet. Magical as in Google Maps and GPS data being fed wirelessly (Bluetooth) from an Android device to four LEDs that are mounted on a shoe insert  that will guide the wearer to a predetermined destination.

Multimodal Interactions Group, HP Labs India, and some students at the College of Engineering in Pune, India (COEP) are the ones responsible for developing the Haptic GPS Shoes that they recently debuted at the MIT Media Lab Workshop hosted at COEP.

Future builds of the Haptic GPS Shoes will see the LEDs swapped out for small vibrating motors which we hope will soon after start making their way to testing and consumer availability.  After writing an epic fail rant yesterday, this article reminded me why I love mobility so much.

Source: Hack A Day

Via: Tyler Earman