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NAVIGATE jacket brings GPS to life with LED lights and haptic feedback

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December 3, 2013

The LEDs on the sleeves of the Navigate jacket provide directional cues

The LEDs on the sleeves of the Navigate jacket provide directional cues

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We've seen GPS integrated into garments before, but this type of technology has never really caught on, undoubtedly because most folks already have car navigation systems, smartphones and standalone GPS units that do a better job. Maybe the key is in designing a GPS-based garment that offers some advantage over existing options, like pulling your face out of your LCD display so that you no longer have to stumble around the city half blind. The NAVIGATE jacket does just that, using LED guide lights and haptic feedback to spoon-feed you the directions.

The Navigate is designed by Australian wearable technology outfit Wearable Experiments (We:eX), which blends together hardware, software and garment design. Rather than geeky wearable gadgets, its creations are more like tech-injected fashion. In fact, its product photos look nothing like typical consumer electronics ads and more like high fashion photo shoots. The Navigate is a follow-up product to Fundawear – underwear that uses integrated hardware to allow a partner to sexually stimulate the wearer via smartphone app.

An accompanying smartphone app stores destinations and directions

The idea of the Navigate is to use wearable technology in a way that makes navigation more intuitive. The user no longer has to constantly stare down at an LCD display, or, heaven forbid, a big, limp map.

Designed for walking or biking around the city, the jacket uses an accompanying smartphone app as a brain. It transforms turn-by-turn navigational data from the app into a simple set of visual and haptic cues. LED lights built into the sleeves let the user know what step she is on and how far until the next turn. Vibrations let her know when and in which direction to turn.

We're not sure the white LED sleeve bands will appeal to everyone's fashion sensibilities, but We:eX sees the jacket as effectively combining world-first technology with an appealing look.

We:eX has tackled the first challenge by integrating navigational technology comfortably and casually (kind of) into a jacket. It is now working on the challenge of full-scale manufacturing. It doesn't forecast pricing or availability on its website, but in the video below, it does allude to plans for launching a campaign in select European cities. We'll see if this "wearable experiment" ever makes it to real product.

Source: Wearable Experiments

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
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