Inspiration

Mainstream navigation apps such as google maps treat bicyclists as cars, despite a drastic difference in protection, speed, and handling. This contributes to the over 400,000 people injured in bicycling accidents in 2015, and the rising rates of injury since 2010. As bicyclists who have experienced crashes and engineers who seek to solve this problem, we decided to harness technology to increase cyclists' attentiveness by reducing the need to rely on a distracting visual and auditory interface.

Creation and function

After researching wearable neck devices such as ergonomic headsets and neck massagers we created our model. Maximizing comfort and isolated vibration were key priorities in the design process. Taking into consideration average neck circumference, basic anatomy, and preliminary user research, we rendered and 3-D printed a prototype. Using vibrational motors commonly found in cellphones and haptics, we manufactured a BlueTooth enabled Arduino device that uses vibrations at the base of the neck to clearly inform the user which direction to navigate. Vybe interfaces with the google maps and google directions APIs through Javascript. With a variety of data structures and vector operations, we developed the ability to create a fool-proof system that tracks the user's movement to suggest haptic feedback and guide their navigation. The minimalistic UI in react-native further emphasizes the device's goal to reduce distractions.

Challenges

Exposed to new setups for soldering irons and laser cutters, we initially had issues assembling the electronics and casing. Teamwork was key to us overcoming this challenge by optimizing our workflow and playing by our strengths. In addition, due to print queue times, we were only able to have the casing printed once, stifling iterative improvement.

Accomplishments that we are proud of

Overcoming these obstacles by relying on the diverse skillsets of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer engineering, and computer science is an accomplishment that made makeHarvard even more Learning about key design principles and the steps needed to create a user-oriented product are key skills that we developed through makeHarvard.

What's next

Further improvements in Vybe's navigation involve the development of 360 degrees of haptic feedback to allow for more dynamic navigation and further independence from distraction.

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