PocketNavigator: vibro-tactile waypoint navigation for everyday mobile devices
Pedestrian navigation systems are becoming popular but the currently dominant audio-visual interaction can have drawbacks. Tactile feedback is studied as a solution, but currently only available as research prototypes. With the PocketNavigator we propose a demonstrator that adds tactile feedback to a simple but robust map-based navigation system that runs on any Android Smartphone. Users can leave the device in the pocket, while being guided non-visually through vibration cues. Like a compass we "point at" the next waypoint by encoding its direction and distance in vibration patterns. As an advantage over previous approaches it allows giving continuous feedback instead of isolated turning instructions and it can be realized without custom-built tactile displays. Preliminary results from a field study show that pedestrian can effectively use this Tactile Compass to reach a destination without turn-by-turn instructions. Integrated into the PocketNavigator we can now deploy it at the Android Market to evaluate the Tactile Compass with a wide range of users.