“vibrobelt” navigation made easy

English: GPS navigation solution running on a ...

English: GPS navigation solution running on a smartphone (iphone) mounted to a road bike. GPS is gaining wide usage with the integration of GPS sensors in many mobile phones. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Think of it as belt for your waist. The “vibrobelt”, a vibrating belt to help guide cyclists, has proven successful in early tests. It uses vibrating actuators that indicate left, right, backward and forward turn directions, and even tickles the user with coded buzzes that tell them how far they have to go to their destination.

Developed in a masters project by Haska Steltenpohl of the Intelligent Systems Lab at theUniversity of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, alongside supervisor Anders Bouwer, the system aims to give cyclists a “heads-up” navigator, allowing them to keep their eyes on the road after they have chosen their destination on a GPS smartphone. They simply set off and get directional nudges from the vibrators just before each turn.

To see if the vibrotactile navigation compared well with using a standard GPS map on a handlebar-mounted smartphone, 20 volunteers tried both methods on a variety of unfamiliar routes. While all the cyclists reached their destinations successfully, the researchers noted an important difference: when questioned about landmarks they had passed, the vibrobelt users proved much more aware of their surroundings en route than those who were constantly glancing at a GPS screen.

That’s a key observation as concerns mount over the appalling death toll among cyclists. The researchers plan to reveal their system and research results at the annual Intelligent User Interfaces conference in Santa Monica, California, in March.

It’s not the first time “vibro” navigation has been tried, however. The US military is trialling a system that guides ground troops to targets in a similar fashion.

Blowfish12@2012 blowfish12.tk Author: Sudharsun. P. R.


[courtesy] Mobiles are no longer an ‘old person’s nightmare’ thanks to Fujitsu!

Here’s a knee-slapper to kick off your weekend: Fujitsu is marketing a new line of smartphones for the elderly.

Some of the features might be just what the 65-and-older market needs — noise cancellation, larger text, and even speech-slowing for better parsing of fast-talking callers.

At a press conference, Fujitsu president Masami Yamamoto showed off the devices, which feature simplified home screens with just a few apps. They’re as bright and colorful as anything you’d see in a nursery, and they’re designed to be drop-dead simple for anyone who is new to smartphones or needs a little extra help with smartphone technology.

Here’s a sneak peek:

raku raku

These phones are already being sold on Fujitsu’s Japanese home turf; as Yamamoto revealed in the press conference, they’ll now be sold overseas. Fujitsu has plans to bring the phones, called Raku-Raku, into the U.S. and Europe first, with a few modifications for each new geography.

“Raku” is Japanese for “easy.” In 2009, Fujitsu rolled out the Raku Raku PC, designed for senior citizens “or any novice computer user.” The principles behind that device remain the same for the smartphone: Color-coding for ease of use, one-touch apps, highlighting of frequently used features and applications, preinstalled software and apps, and larger fonts.

The company last year rolled out a Raku-Raku feature phone. This marvel gave users a button that, when pushed, would immediately connect users to a dedicated customer support call center.

Blowfish12@2012 blowfish12.tk Author: Sudharsun. P. R.