Top Hat Provides Sound Navigation #WearableWednesday
Usually people like top hats to hide their hardware, but a group of students at Cornell University’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering decided to give their hardware some support with this project found on Hackaday. Called the Sound Navigation Hat, it uses sound localization with GPS and head orientation to guide the wearer to the chosen destination. So, imagine you are trying to get to a surprise restaurant. If the location were pre-programmed into the hat, you would merely listen to audio tones which would sound as if they were coming from the direction of the restaurant to guide you there. It sounds simple, but there’s definitely a bunch of wires on the top of that hat connected to a PIC 32, a compass module, an Adafruit GPS Breakout Board, an Adafruit TFT LCD display, a DAC and a stereo headset. There’s also some fancy trigonometry dealing with Interaural Time Differences (ITD) and Interaural Level Differences (ITD), which allow for the audio sounds to work with the shape of the head and position of the ears. You can get a feel for how this comes together in their video.
Sound based navigation is an interesting choice as it allows the wearer to concentrate on their surroundings. Having participated in a hackathon for accessibility, I can tell you this would be really beneficial for low vision or blind people and it gets bonus points since it doesn’t require translation. For the future, it would be great to see a slimmer version of this project, or one that relies on a phone with a higher end headset. Plus, it would be fun if everything could be voice activated—”Siri, soundmap to Jamba Juice”. Shoutout to students Abdurrahman Husnein, Sophia Yan and Vance Hancock—please continue your work! For the rest of you that are curious about a nav project, you should definitely check out our GPS boards. Better yet, get your pet involved with our GPS Dog Collar project. You can track your dog’s walks and help keep your buddy (and yourself) in shape. Post a photo so we know where you are hiking!
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.