Emilios Farrington-Arnas

Industrial Designer
Director at Made in Brunel
London, UK


Maptic - Tactile Navigation for the Visually Impaired

Being told that you have a lifelong, incurable, eyesight problem is a terrifying prospect; one that is very difficult to come to terms with. For the vi sually impaired, retaining independence in day-to-day life is important, however, navigation can be a long-winded, potentially unsafe process, especially in new environments or at night. Simple tasks like travelling to work can become arduous and time consuming and more often than not, need planning beforehand.

Maptic is a system of wearable sensory devices, consisting of a visual sensor and vibrationing feedback units. These customisable, personalisable modules can be worn without attracting the stigma that current assistive products harbour, while still accurately detecting objects in the visual field and transmitting them into intuitive vibrations on the body. Using the sense of touch frees up hearing for detecting immediate dangers, which is the dominant sense when visually impaired.

Along with immediate hazard perception, an included high contrast, bold app allows Maptic to pair with users smartphones. Utilising the phone’s GPS, the app can navigate the user to chosen destinations via vibrations to the left and right sides of the body when the user needs to turn.

Either disguised as jewellery or clips or worn as statement pieces, Maptic is entirely adaptable to the individual and their style preferences. Swapping out the cable for a pin or clip allows the units to be concealed around the body, and can be worn on belts, in pockets, or clipped onto shirts.

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