Caleb Kramer, editor of MobileBehavior and one of our contributing writers, recently wrote an interesting article on his blog. He posted the image of an odd looking object and explored why electronic navigation devices do not work in the same way as this object does.
The above object is an Inuit map, a tactile object which the Inuit people use to discern patterns in the coastline by holding and feeling its contours with their fingers. Unlike a visual map, this weatherproof object can be used in the dark, works at any temperature, and lasts longer than a printed map.
Kramer emphasizes that desired information should be presented as per the situation at hand, and gives the example of mobile phone navigators that are not optimal while the user is on the go and is already overloaded with sensory or cognitive information. Instead, he belives we need a phone that is enabled with haptic feedback, a tactile feedback technology that takes advantage of a user’s sense of touch by applying forces and vibrations to the user. One such device is the Tactile Navigation Belt, a wearable belt that conveys location sensed via GPS system in tactile form by applying force around the user’s waist to direct him to his destination.