OK so I just read (aka skimmed) through the scientific article that talks about creating a navigation system for humans so that we don’t have to pay attention to the road any more. Yeah we are one step closer to the world of Wall-E.

OK at first I thought that this idea of a navigation system that “walks” for us will makes us lazy (well more lazy than we already are) but I am going to focus on the positive side of this new technology.

Yeah sure their idea was primarily focused to help people who are easily distracted by the daily activity like playing on your phone or talking to someone (as I am writing this it sounds dumb as hell but bare with me) or just gazing at mother nature but this could actually be a tool to help the visually impaired, possible even replacing guide dogs in the distant future.

The articles states:

We propose actuated navigation, a new kind of pedestrian navigation in which the user does not need to attend to the navigation task at all. An actuation signal is directly sent to the human motor system to influence walking direction. To achieve this goal we stimulate the sartorius muscle using electrical muscle stimulation. The rotation occurs during the swing phase of the leg and can easily be counteracted. The user therefore stays in control. We discuss the properties of actuated navigation and present a lab study on identifying basic parameters of the technique as well as an outdoor study in a park. The results show that our approach changes a user’s walking direction by about 16◦ /m on average and that the system can successfully steer users in a park with crowded areas, distractions, obstacles, and uneven ground.

So what do guys think? Do you think this is a step forward or a step backwards?

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