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A portable haptic-navigation device guides visually impaired people on the right track

Wearworks, USA

Feel the way

At first glance, it looks like a sleek modern black bracelet. On closer inspection, it turns out to be a technology that enables blind and visually impaired people to lead independent lives. "Wayband", an invention of the New York start-up Wearworks, is a portable haptic-navigation device that uses vibrations to transmit tactile navigation information. First, the device is connected to a mobile phone and creates a virtual route using GPS data. Based on this map, the wristband transmits directional information to the user with a kind of Morse code. The system is so intuitive that most wearers find the right way within ten seconds—even on the first try and without external instructions. "Wayband" even mastered its literal first major test run: thanks to the haptic-navigation device, a blind runner ran the first 15 miles of the New York City Marathon without sighted-assistance.

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