TR#464: A Wearable Haptic Navigation Guidance System

Sevgi Ertan, Clare Lee, Abigail Willets, Hong Tan and Alex Pentland

Submitted to the 2nd International Symposium on Wearable Computers
Philadelphia, PA, Oct. 1998

This paper describes a wearable navigation system based on a haptic directional display embedded in the back of a vest. The system consists of a 4-by-4 array of micromotors for delivering haptic navigational signals to the user's back, an infrared-based input system for locating the user in an environment, and a wearable computer for route planning. User testing was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of this system as a navigation guide for sighted users in an unfamiliar lab area. It is hoped that such a system can be a useful navigation guide for individuals with severe visual impairments in an unfamiliar environment. Future work will address the specific issues concerning blind navigation.

Keywords: wearable haptic displays, blind navigation, wearable computing.