Shoes That Tell You Where to Go

The worst thing about walking around while trying to follow directions is that you have to keep looking down at them to get the next turn. At best, you’ll miss out on the scenery; at worst, you might walk into traffic.

Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to look down? Yes it would, and with Walkity, there’s no need to look down. Walkity is a set of cuffs that slip on the backs of your shoes, pairs with your phone, and uses haptic feedback to tell you where to go. Each one has an Arduino Mini Pro, an NRF24L01 to talk to its mate, a Bluetooth module, a vibration motor, and what must be the thinnest, most flexible LiPo currently available on Earth. The specified cell is PGEB0083559, a 65 mAH cell that is 0.8 mm thick!

Your smartphone will vibrate in your pocket during naviation but our experience has been that of still not knowing which way to turn. Walkity’s feedback is simple and intuitive. The left cuff vibrates to indicate a left turn, right for right, and both vibrate when you reach your destination. Going the wrong way? Walkity will vibrate vigorously to let you know it’s time to pull over. It’s a great example of a an entry for the Human Computer Interface Challenge of the Hackaday Prize!

We often see haptic feedback used for navigation, but it can also be used to teach new skills.