Cruise control for pedestrians — there’s an app for that!

Michael Rundle, for Wired UK:

“Actuated navigation” is a new concept proposed by a team from the universities of Hannover, Stuttgart and Munich to combine GPS and electrical stimulation of the muscles and literally drive you around an unfamiliar location, without having to consult a map.

The paper (“Cruise Control for Pedestrians: Controlling Walking Direction Using Electrical Muscle Stimulation“) by Max Pfeiffer, Tim Dunte, Stefan Schneegass, Florian Alt, and Michael Rohs outlines how the idea would combine GPS navigation with a new, direct method of delivering that information to the human locomotion system. The idea works by delivering weak electrical signals to the muscles, using non-invasive electrodes on the skin. The signal interacts with motor nerves, which contracts the relevant fibres and forces you to change direction.

And, just in time, technology arrives… to solve a problem that it started.