Compass is a wearable designed to help the user navigate. It addresses the problem a traditional compass has by expanding the senses it influences. A traditional compass only addresses sight, Compass also addresses the sense of touch and hearing. When wearing this wearable for a longer period of time the subconscious of the brain takes the input of the wearable and merges it into the sense of direction, making the user subconscious aware of the direction he or she is heading. Compass uses a total of 80 magnetic actuators in combination with a sensor to make the magnetic north hearable, visible and feelable.


What have you made?

I made a wearable called Compass. This wearable makes the magnetic north visible, feelable, and hearable with the help of 80 flapping magnetic actuators.

What gave you the initial inspiration?

This project was an assignment for the class Information Spaces. In the briefing we where asked to make an app on your mobile phone wearable. I chose the compass app because of the problem that is present in this app. When traveling it’s quite hard to focus both on the app and on the surroundings. Therefor I made this suit which addresses multiple senses in order to make this app more embedded with the human body.

What is the original idea behind this project?

I wanted to make a wearable that would give the user a sense of direction. I wanted the movement of this wearable to be as organic as possible. The actuators are like digital scales on your body. The flapping is somehow related to the movement of the wings of birds, who (as most people know) use magnetoception to navigate around the globe. The magnetic actuators in combination with the sensor create a perfect mapping between input and output.

How does it work?

This wearable works in the following way. First a sensor (Gy-273 HMC5883L) senses the magnetic north. It uses I2C to send data to a arduino nano. The Arduino interprets this data and calculates the angle between the magnetic north and the direction the sensor is facing.  This value is mapped across all the columns of flaps in this wearable. In this columns there are some rows of flaps. After the arduino ‘knows’ which flaps are in the columns there is a small loop that makes the flaps move from top to bottom. The flaps are actuated with coils and magnets. When voltage (7.4 v) is applied to the coils the coils generate a magnetic field opposite to the magnetic field of the static magnets, thus ‘pushing’ it away. When no voltage is present on the coils the magnetic field collapses and gravity pulls the flaps down again. The coils are driven using a combination of shift registers (sn74hc595) and darlington transistor arrays (uln2003).

How long did it take to make it real?

This project took me from early September till mid November to make.

How did you build it?

I used the following components:
- Arduino uno
- 0.1mm enamelled copper wire (±400 meter)
- neodymium magnets (±250 pcs)
- fabric (grey and white)
- uln2003 transistor arrays
- sn74hc595 shift registers
- compass sensor Gy-273 HMC5883L
- some wire
I used the following tools while working on this project:
-Laser cutter
-3D printer
-sewing machine
-various tools like scissors, needles, sewing thread, glue, etc.