GPS Shape-Changing Device Guides through Touch

October 31, 2015  - By
(Photo: Yale News)

(Photo: YaleNews)

A handheld GPS device uses touch to help you determine where to walk. Made with a 3D printer, the cube-shaped “Animotus” was designed with the visually impaired in mind, reports YaleNews.

Designed by Adam Spiers, a Yale University post-doctoral associate in mechanical engineering, the Animotus is designed in layers, with the receiver in the middle. The top layer revolves to show what direction to walk, extending to indicate distance.

When it stops twisting and returns to its cube shape, you’ve reached your destination. It can be programmed wirelessly on a computer or a smartphone.

Spiers said he chose touch for guidance over sound because of the many aural distractions.

(Diagram: Yale News)

(Diagram: YaleNews)

The Animotus was tested in London in an immersive production of a play based on the novella Flatland, about a two-dimensional world. Using the Animotus, the audience was guided through the church to uncover the plot. When the Animotus signaled participants to stop, narrative and sound effects took over. The performing company includes sight-impaired members.

The Animotus was demonstrated at the World Haptics Conference in June at Northwestern University and received “quite a bit” of interest, Spiers said.

See a video about the Animotus here:

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