A haptic wayfinding for the visually impaired

IxDA Interaction awards 2022 finalist
Collaboration: Simon Dogger
Role: Designer & Software Developer
Keywords: wearable technology, e-textile, GPS, compass
Travelling and exploring unfamiliar places is an exciting experience for sighted people. However, for the visually impaired and blind people, this experience is often more frustrating and mentally demanding than enjoyable.

By translating navigational data into haptic sensation, Nebula supports unfamiliar urban exploration for people with visual impairment. It allows users to explore without constantly figuring out where they are going or from where they come. Nebula minimises the fear of getting lost and relieves mental strain by creating a haptic breadcrumb trail to ensure the wearer always gets home.


Different ways of turnings on and off the device
Different button sizes and interactions of setting a waypoint
Trying different electronic cases
Trying out different types of fabrics and design of belts
Variation of belts

Technical Design

The device translates navigational data, distance and direction into vibration point and frequency. Supported codes are in nebula github repository.
Arduino Nano, 7 vibration motors, Compass (Beitan 880q), GPS (Beitan 880q), Battery
Connecting the belt and the buckle
Layout of vibration motors on the belt
Sewing electronics with conductive yarn onto the fabric
Connecting conductive yarns through connector to the buckle