GPS has come a long way starting out as an exclusively used technology by the military, then migrated to the aviation industry and finally became accessible to the general public as car navigation and nowadays GPS is a standard feature in many of the hand-held personal electronic devices like cell phones.
People like me who get easily lost in not so frequently visited places, the accessibility of pocket GPS is more than compensating for the underdeveloped orientation sense.
Until now I have to take out my cellphone and check if I am still heading in the direction I want to go but it seems I can soon rely on my bag to tell me where to go.
Josh, a innovator from Chicago, is showing the direction GPS technology could head in the near future – being an indispensable feature in clothing and fashion accessories. His DIY project MapBag integrates a GPS module which constantly evaluates the wearer’s current heading and the location of magnetic North, or the relative location of a user-defined way-point.
The unique design twist on the MapBag is the UI, the user interaction of the GPS information in the bag with the wearer – with a ring of 8 low profile, shaftless vibration motors on the back of the bag. Wearing the messenger bag in front over the chest, this ring of vibration motors give a tactile reading similar to a compass face.
Make sure you check out the project site of the MapBag – interesting to watch and inspirational – maybe something to pick up and translate/transform the wearable GPS into a jacket?
Josh used his MapBag for a couple of weeks and ‘… the slight pulses used to convey heading information have become second nature. Most importantly, I no longer find myself using street signs or depending on landmarks to discern my position in the city’s grid.‘
Oh – I love the MapBag too, not having to be afraid to get lost again while exploring a new place, small side streets in old, historical parts of a city.
Besides improving the orientation sense of people like me I can also imagine that this type of design can be useful for visually impaired people having this kind of way-finder with tactile reading discretely integrated in clothing of bags we wear.