If you’re anything like me, trying to navigate and get yourself somewhere relying on Google Maps on your smartphone can lead to serious confusion and complications. Luckily, people know to expect me to arrive on the late side to most things thanks to my very millennial inability to decipher a map, or even GPS generated directions. For those of you who are directionally challenged like me, a new smart eyewear device debuted at the South by Southwest Conference in Austin introduced the concept of “smart walking,” meaning it’s a wearable that will navigate you.
Dubbed the Telepathy Walker, this smart eyewear device is equipped to bring never before seen functions and consumer applications to the wearable field. Taking to the SXSW stage, Telepathy Japan Inc. set up demonstration units for the Walker that showed off the device’s personal navigation capabilities that feed any wearer with directions on how to reach any destination while still allowing them to soak in their surrounding environment and not be enslaved to looking down at their smartphones in order to plot their next move. The hands-free device is clipped to a wearer’s ear, with a piece of it jutting out in front of one’s eye that delivers navigation and directions while keeping the other eye unobstructed (think Google Glass, minus the actual frame).
A Kickstarter funding campaign for the Walker coincided with the SXSW demonstration of the wearable, targeting consumers invested in augmented reality and personal navigation. Telepathy Walker promises to “enhance everyday life by assisting with personal navigation, exploring new destinations and sharing adventures with friends and family.” So, no, it’s not one of those fancy neural wearables that will grant you the ability to read minds, but like I said, for someone who probably couldn’t identify the back of their own hand, a smart eyewear device like this could prove extremely useful. It’s highly intuitive user interface will make navigating and exploring a breeze, while features such as the sunlight proof display, noise cancelling directional microphone and voice recognition make the Walker truly user-friendly.
For those curious about that augmented reality part, the Telepathy Walker is embedded with its own AR platform that will identify places of interest and local hotspots in a given area, even granting wearers the ability to share their experiences and any new holes-in-the-wall they may discover through the platform. The Walker is Telepathy Japan’s first consumer product, and the Kickstarter campaign already has more than 70 backers since its splashy debut at SXSW. At a starting price of $300, it’s a little expensive when compared to other consumer wearables, but the promise of those built-in augmented reality features is unlike any other feature wearables already on the market offer – the Telepathy Walker could very much be ushering in a new wave of wearable.