Cruise Navigation
Translating a phone application to a wearable.

This project was made as an assignment for ArtEZ, Arnhem.

About the project: Cruise Navigation started as an idea to translate a phone application to a physical "wearable". As an avid longboarder, I always struggled with the fact that I was confined to using my phone to navigate while cruising in areas I wasn't familiar with. I wanted to try to come up with a design that would allow me to cruise around on my longboard without having to use my phone. So how could I be able to know where I was going without having to resort to Google Maps?

The solution? What I came up with might not be the most "wearable" solution but it is grounded in skate culture. I decided to change the designs that are generally found on all types of skateboards. Usually placed on the underside of the deck, I switched it to the top of the deck so that the rider would be able to see it by simply looking down at their feet. The design is based on the eight wind directions, North, North-east, East, South-east, South, South-west, West and North-west. This design was then covered up with a layer of thermochromic ink, ink that becomes transparant when heated above 37C degrees.

The deck: I designed a series of eight heating elements, consisting of resistance wire locked between two layers of copper plating. By putting 12V through the resistance wire, the copper plating would heat up to about 40C degrees. I then built the longboard deck and milled tracks for the wiring and the heating elements to live in. All the wires were connected to an 11-pin DVI cable which ran to the Arduino.

The electronics: The DVI cable runs all the way to the case that is worn around the shoulder. Inside the case you'll find a 12V battery, an Arduino Uno, a compass module (HMC5883L) and an 8-relay shield. The compass module would determine your heading (0 to 360 degrees) and feed that to the Arduino which would, in turn, switch the correct relay on the 8-relay shield, allowing the corresponding heating element inside the longboard deck to heat up. The thermochromic ink on the top of the deck would then become transparant and display the correct arrow, indicating which way is North.