Sep 112011

Out riding and somehow you’ve moved into an area which you are not too familiar with. It happens to us all. Problem is that it can be difficult to keep on looking at Google Maps or your bike specific mapping app while trying to navigate your way to more familiar roads.

Fear not, a team of researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands have come up with a sound-based navigation approach. The boffins have developed an iPhone app that helps you to find your way to a destination by following music (via use of headphones).

Where Art Thou?

Called “Oh Music, Where Art Thou?”, the app navigates you to where you want to go by artificially shifting the sound in the headphones in the direction of the desired destination. So if the music is heavier from the right of the headphones, you should go right; if it is heavier from the left than from the right, you best go left. As you get closer to your destination, the music will get increasingly louder.


The app has a built-in compass and GPS system to navigate the user to a chosen destination once the destination is keyed into the app.

At the moment the app currently works best when an iPhone is strapped to a cyclist’s head between the headphones (see pic above) as this allows the compass to work accurately. We think this solution needs a bit more work, though we do appreciate the work on it so far forms part of an academic project.

The app and idea is also probably not much use unless there is some segregated cycle lane infrastructure in your country.  I’m not sure I’d go onto the open roads with it.

Photo appears courtesy of Eindhoven University of Technology

See also

The inner tube that self heals a puncture

Space saving bike parking

from Going Going Bike – Auctions, Bike News, Cycle Stuff

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