PocketNavigator: Vibro-tactile Waypoint Navigation for Everyday Mobile Devices

Pielot, Martin and Poppinga, Benjamin and Boll, Susanne
Pedestrian Navigation systems are reaching the end-consumer market. However, the audio-visual heavy 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" next waypoint by encoding its direction and distance in vibration patterns. As an advantage over previous tactile UIs is that 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 the tactile compass to reach a destination. As the PocketNavigator is a simple but robust application we can now deploy it at the Android Market to evaluate the tactile compass with a wide range of users.
08 / 2010
Haptic, Audio and Visual Interfaces for Maps and Location Based Services