Locative Lab

researching locative media

SWAN: System for Wearable Audio Navigation

A team of Georgia Tech researchers have devised a wearable computer system that promises to help blind people navigate unfamiliar areas, and please the acronym police as well. Like most prototypes, the the SWAN (System for Wearable Audio Navigation) is pretty bulky in its current form, with a laptop, GPS, inertial sensors, pedometer, RFID tags, RF sensors, a compass, and other gear all stuffed into a backpack, although they’re apparently already working on a smaller version. To get navigation information to the wearer, the SWAN employs a pair of “bonephones” (also developed by Georgia Tech), which send sounds to the person using bone conduction,letting them keep their ears free to hear what’s going on around them. Instead of using traditional voice navigation, however, the SWAN uses what the researchers call “3D audio cues,” which consist ofnavigational beacons that the person is supposed to walk towards, and secondary sounds informing them of nearby objects or changes in walking surfaces. Makes the UltraCane seem a little old-fashioned, no?



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Cityscape LocativeLab.org is Ronald Lenz's research website on locative & mobile media. This is mostly an archive of blogposts I find inspiring and interesting and an overview of my work. I'm a strategist, technologist and researcher in the field of Location-Based Mobile Services and work at Waag Society, a medialab in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where I head the Locative Media research program and at 7scenes, a platform for GPS games and tours as creative director. Picture 4 Find me at Twitter, LinkedIn or via ronald [at] waag [dot] org.

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