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North Paw: A vibrating, ankle-worn compass

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February 28, 2013

North Paw Directional Anklet Kit vibrates to provide a constant reference to magnetic nort...

North Paw Directional Anklet Kit vibrates to provide a constant reference to magnetic north

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If your hobbies include using a soldering iron and spending time exploring the great outdoors, then the North Paw Directional Anklet Kit from ThinkGeek may be of interest. It's a self-build vibrating compass which straps to the ankle, allowing the user to always tell which direction magnetic north lies.

As its name suggests, the North Paw Directional Anklet Kit comes in kit form, so it’s first necessary to break out the wire strippers and soldering iron to put the device together – a process which is reported to be “easy-ish.”

As the name suggests, the North Paw Directional Anklet Kit comes in kit form

Once assembled, the unit sports a total of eight vibrating pager motors, which surround your leg. Whichever direction magnetic north happens to be, the integrated compass will cause the corresponding motor to vibrate, thus allowing you to navigate hands-free.

The North Paw runs off an internal battery, which is recharged with a USB mini-B cable, and it's secured to the ankle with a Velcro strap.

While we can't vouch for its efficacy, always knowing the direction of magnetic north could certainly prove useful – just be sure not to wear it through airport security.

The North Paw Directional Anklet Kit is available from Think Geek and will set you back US$159.99.

The promo video below features an intrepid explorer demonstrating the device in use.

Source: ThinkGeek via Gizmodo

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam is a tech and music writer based in North Wales. When not working, you’ll usually find Adam tinkering with old Macintosh computers, reading history books, or exploring the countryside with his dog Finley.   All articles by Adam Williams
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6 Comments

Because knowing or learning how to read the movement of the sun or a normal compass is too mainstream...

JuanSTobon
28th February, 2013 @ 06:54 am PST

It certainly adds that naughty celebritee panache....

Bob Ehresman
28th February, 2013 @ 07:56 am PST

Surely, a compass is easier, much cheaper, requires no battery, and no electronics. This gadget is totally pointless. A triumph of design over common sense.

The wearer would look like some criminal out on licence.

David Colton Clarke
1st March, 2013 @ 03:57 am PST

I concur, this form factor is already taken by the Law Enforcement community. Aside from really standing out in your local boy scout troop this is a distinctly stupid way to read a compass.

StWils
1st March, 2013 @ 08:20 am PST

Why not just use one motor and have it vibrate when the wearer is facing north. Would be a lot cheaper!

Cpat
1st March, 2013 @ 08:59 am PST

You guys miss the point a bit. This device is constantly on, streaming magnetic input as if it were another sensory information. There have been research on this topic in the past few years, after some point, the information bypass the cognitive center, you just know where north is, without thinking about it.

Reading a compass is certainly cheaper but it's not the same level of integration with your brain. Imagine if we were all deaf, getting audio cues by reading signs. Now someone come along with a new device that allows you to "sense" air vibrations directly in a device called an "ear", would you not want one ?

Also, compass is just the begining, another project related to the North Paw is the MapBag by Josh Billions, it's a messenger bag that gives you the GPS direction via a vibrotactile belt.

Wearable computing is coming.

Jobigoud
3rd May, 2013 @ 10:14 am PDT
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