Unfortunately I can’t get the full paper on this, however the link below is to the article on new scientist.
I should point out this is not for car drivers, but for pedestrians walking through city’s and towns. Although I can see how it could easily be adapted for cars. The Idea is simple, with most turn by turn based solutions on our hand-held devices you are directed the most direct way to your destination. This invariable takes you on the main streets, or even worse down some back ally where all the shops are throwing out there rubbish.
In Swansea university they developed a new method. Rather than displaying a map, the device simple vibrates when you point it in the direction you need to take to get to your destination. So if there are several routes your device will vibrate across all of them. Although apart from the strength of the vibration and with of its field, the idea seems to be there is no way to “know” which one is quicker. You simple chose the one you like the look of and continue on your way.
Now I know for many people the best was is the fastest, no matter what you see along the way. But for people on holiday in a new city, often the reason for visiting a city is to see the sites. A system that will keep you pointing in the right general direction, while allowing you a choice of the exact path I think could become a standard feature on hand held devices.
I can also like I said see it being used in cars, Of course we have to be careful here as you don’t want drivers spending to much time worrying about what turning to make. However we already have the ability to avoid motor ways and toll roads. but these still give us a fixed route, and although system will re-root if we take a wrong turn, they don’t upfront give us any information about the alternatives. My be a system where you can set an acceptable % increase of journey time for alternate route to be suggested. Then as you approach a turning where the alternative falls with in this limit, the system alerts you to the alternative and tell you how much time it will add.
I really like this idea as I love to see new areas, but I am hopeless at direction. I hope it makes it through to a hand-held device near me in the future.