[v. to “Beckon” for bacon from bae]
Christopher Stroud, Nischal Shrestha, Danial Zaki, Kevin Marko
A walking directions navigation app which exploits binaural audio to expose left and right directional cues to the user.
Navigation can be a difficult task especially in unfamiliar places and in cases where the user's hands are busy. Holding a phone while walking can be a frustrating experience since the user has to keep looking down at their phone for the next direction and it can be distracting on a busy street. Bæcon tries to solve the problem by aiding the user with audio cues to help them get to their destination using the Apple Watch.
The binaural audio, which is possible by wearing headphones, is meant to give the user spatial awareness of where the next waypoint is going to be; users will hear the pings at the waypoints as if they originated from those locations and this gives the user a general idea of where to walk next. This can be helpful for the users since they won't need to constantly glance at their phone for the next step. The goal is to alleviate the user with the visual task of both looking around their environment and their device to get feedback on their progress.
Using the watch as the device also allows users to do quick glances for visual cues as well, if the audio cue isn't enough; a map is presented to the users on their iPhone with a visual cue of where the current audio ping is beckoning them, and the distance remaining until the next direction. Bæcon allows the user to set up their destination either by checking out nearby or related places of interests (POIs) or use the search feature. Since Bæcon will be running both on the phone and on the watch, users still have the option to use the phone to acquire a more in-depth overview of the destination; however, the idea is to primarily use the watch and headphones to guide the user towards their destination to allow a freedom of movement and attention to the environment.
For the future, the GPS functionality needs to be added so that the application can guide the user to their desired destination. The binaural audio also needs to be implemented so that users can take advantage of audio directional cues for efficiency and safety. Since this could potentially be used for blind people as well, there needs to be more work done to ensure exactly how to create safe paths. The application needs to ensure that the waypoints are in safe places and the paths leading to the waypoints don't instruct users to walk out in the middle of the road, for example.