What if you could literally “feel your way” by wearing a GPS-linked device that conveys information about which direction you should go via the pattern of pulses you feel on your skin? Lynette Jones, senior research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Department of Mechanical Engineering, is testing an array of vibrating motors such as those used in cell phones to measure vibrations in the skin. Arrays on the palm, forearm and thigh of volunteer test subjects showed that the palm of the hand is the best receptor for pulses, whereas skin on the forearm and thigh tended to reduce motor-generated vibrations. Applications for vibration-based communication include providing directions for people who can’t see or hear, directing firefighters in burning buildings, helping joggers in unfamiliar cities and navigating at night. Learn more at MIT’s wearable tactile displays page.