Acquire a transhuman Compass Sense with a kit-built anklet


31 Responses to “Acquire a transhuman Compass Sense with a kit-built anklet”

  1. Hugh Johnson says:

    Special extra bonus…you can look like a parolee!

  2. Lexorin says:

    What they don’t mention is what happens when you take the anklet off after a few months. Seems to be some bad side effects after removing it after prolonged use.

    Here’s an article from wired that talks about it-

    “When the original feelSpace experiment ended, Wächter, the sysadmin who started dreaming in north, says he felt lost; like the people wearing the weird goggles in those Austrian experiments, his brain had remapped in expectation of the new input. “Sometimes I would even get a phantom buzzing.” He bought himself a GPS unit, which today he glances at obsessively. One woman was so dizzy and disoriented for her first two post-feelSpace days that her colleagues wanted to send her home from work. “My living space shrank quickly,” says König. “The world appeared smaller and more chaotic.”

  3. GlyphGryph says:

    Oh man, I’ve been waiting for one of these for forever! Sweet!

  4. Bevatron Repairman says:

    I have a very good intuitive sense of direction, although I have found that while my North-South is very good, I don’t actually have an East-West.  Rather, I have a toward the water/away from the water sense.  (I think the Hawaiian for that is Mauka-Makai).  So if I’m on the west coast, things work out right (even if I am well away from the ocean), but if I’m on the East Coast, or in Chicago (with the Lake to the East), I often take the wrong exit on the highway because to me “toward the ocean” trumps the cardinal direction “west” when I’m trying to navigate.

    • leidentech says:

       Funny, I had the exact opposite when I visted the West Coast from the East.

    • Lupus_Yonderboy says:

      Yeah, I live in New Orleans now and magnetic north is meaninless in directions here – everything is “toward the river” or “toward the lake” (or “uptown” vs. “downtown”, which coming from New York makes me think North & South but they aren’t that here – it’s more East/West but not really).

    • andygates says:

      You realize, you could write code to calculate that from GPS location, and feed it into the bracelet.

  5. tompolley says:

    I’d love this if it could be subdermal, or at least less bulky. I love my magnetic finger implants, and if they could indicate direction too, it would be dynamite.

    Sensing direction directly might not be much of a superpower, but hey, it’s one more than I have now.

    • Boundegar says:

      But see Lexorin’s comment above.  It could mess you up if it malfunctioned.  And if it was implanted, even moreso.

      Then add malware.

      • tompolley says:

         So worst case is I become a cyberzombie controlled by Russian hackers? I’m not sure I’m seeing the downside here.

        But yeah, you’ve got a point there. I hate having to unscrew the battery compartment door, so I’d probably find surgery even more inconvenient when changing batteries. I could get rechargeables, but who wants to sleep with a finger in the light socket?

    • cdh1971 says:

      Yes…subdermal….installed in one’s weenal…

  6. royaltrux says:

     I was curious until I saw the price. For what they charge it should not be a kit, and not resemble a bulky prototype. $150!!

    • ethicalcannibal says:

      That was my exact thought. I thought it would be neat to have one, but a kit that I have to assemble, that is massive in size, for that price? Not interested. 

  7. freerangehuman says:

    I could see this installed in a pair of hiking boots!

  8. AwesomeRobot says:

    I wonder if it’d be as effective if you minimized the components to one vibration motor, which vibrates with increased intensity when you’re facing north…

    It’s not as instantly intuitive without the constant vibration of north at all times, so you’d have to turn a little to figure it out — but it’d seriously minimize the size/price. 

  9. robcat2075 says:

    This has a touch of “survivalist” to it.  Do we really need to go to that length to develop an absolute sense of direction, when our relative sense of direction (judging our visible surroundings) works well in almost all circustances?

    • AwesomeRobot says:

      There’s a fundamental difference.

      If I placed you in the middle of a city you’ve never been to on an overcast day and asked you to go north you’d have no idea which direction to head in. With a augmentative device like this you’d know “instinctively.”

      In daily conditions you’d be eliminating the few seconds it would take to visually process your surroundings to come to the same conclusion. 

      Is it necessary? Sure, probably not — but neither are cushioned seats or silverware. 

      • andygates says:

        Without nav cues, I get mazed in mere minutes in cities.  I think it’s the lack of horizon.  With a GPS I’m a happy comfortable (nay, adventurous) traveller.  

  10. Stevko says:

    On member of our hackerspace also built such a thing:

  11. bardfinn says:

    So, what you’re saying here is:

    Stand in the place where you are
    Now face west
    Think about direction
    Wonder why you have it now


    • cdh1971 says:

      We’re the dandy highwaymen so tired of excuses
      Of deep meaning philosophies where only showbiz loses
      We’re the dandy highwaymen and here’s our invitation
      “throw your safety overboard and join our insect nation”

      Stand and deliver your money or your life!
      Try and use a mirror no bullet or a knife!

  12. PeaceLove says:

    I got a North Paw a few months ago, having lusted after a compass belt ever since I saw the original German version featured on a BBC science show. Besides being a pain to assemble (lots of small bits to solder), at least for this relatively inexperienced assembler, the North Paw never really worked properly. It only occasionally pointed in the right direction, and often vibrated unrelated motors.

    Fun to play with but definitely a 1.0 product. I’m still desperately awaiting a nice, compact commercial version.

  13. Thorzdad says:

    Carry a pocket compass. Good grief.

    • eldritch says:

      But if you have to exert a miminum of physical effort to obtain information, rather than having it piped continuously to your nervous system all the time, it’s not THE FUTURE!

    • ocker3 says:

       Or get a compass on your phone

    • PeaceLove says:

      Having continuous, real-time directional sensory feedback is quite a different experience than checking a compass. In the BBC show, the researchers (led by Dr. Saskia K. Nagel of the Institute for Cognitive Science, University of Osnabruck) had a guy wear the compass belt for a week or so. Then they blindfolded him & led him along a zigzag course laid out in the parking lot. After that, still blindfolded, he was able to perfectly walk the same zigzag course without looking, just based on his new “sense awareness.”

      The researchers found their subjects were unable to describe exactly how their revised directional sense worked & felt, which led them to conclude it was a new sense unlike anything humans normally experience. THAT is why it interested me in the first place, and why I’m still waiting for a nicely made consumer version.

  14. Snig says:

    I wonder if anyone’s developed ones for football that point to the endzone.  

  15. Petzl says:

    This reminds me of an aboriginal tribe that doesn’t use relative words like “left” or “right”, “in front”, “behind” to describe directions; they use absolute cardinal directions at all times. (Search for “Guugu Yimithirr” halfway down the article.)

  16. Peaked says:

    That was basically my experience with a slightly earlier version of the kit. To work properly, it really had to be held very level, which obviously doesn’t work particularly well for something strapped to you.

    On the other hand, I really liked putting the kit together and was very happy with it. I’m not sure how easily the issues with the angle at which the compass module sat could be resolved.

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