Designed cleverly to look like fashion accessories, the Maptic (Map + Haptic) is in reality a device that enables its wearer to make a mental map of their surroundings. With feedback units worn on both hands, to help users navigate, the neck-worn time-of-flight sensor works to create a map of its surroundings, not just sending vibration signals to the bracelets to help wearers avoid obstacles, they even act as a navigator, telling users when to move forward or turn, based on vibration cues. To add another layer of functionality to the device, the pendant comes with indoor and outdoor settings, working in short and long ranges, to make sure obstacles are detected at the right times. To minimize size and maximize battery life, the designer sought to link the Maptic to a smartphone app, rather than use an in-built GPS unit. The app uses voice control, but communicates with the wearer through vibrations only, eliminating the need for headphones, and therefore allowing the users to listen to and be aware of their surroundings.
Designer Emilios Farrington-Arnas secured a James Dyson Scholarship for his Maptic project and is now working towards developing units for not just the visually disabled but even for the able-sighted, helping people navigate more effectively and discreetly without the need for visual cues, or audio guidance.
Designer: Emilios Farrington-Arnas