BackMap, which came out of TechCrunch Disrupt NY’s 2017 hackathon, is a backpack that vibrates to let you know when to turn right and when to turn left.
While walking outside, you could input your location via the app and have your backpack navigate you to the specified place, without needing to take out your phone. BackMap does this using Esri’s PubNub block. Indoors, BackMap could utilize beacons to help people navigate to places like bathrooms and certain stores inside a mall.
“I think that’s a pretty cool feature for people who are visually impaired, because if you walk into a store, you might not know how to navigate to certain places,” Shashank Sharma told me after his team’s presentation.
The BackMap which is currently in prototype mode, is equipped with Raspberry Pi-controlled motors in each strap. It only cost the team about $40 to create this haptic feedback system.
The BackMap team says they envision bringing the functionality to a smart watch or other wearable device down the road.