Ring for directions

British designer Gail Knight has invented the latest in intelligent jewellery, a pair of rings that, connected to a GPS system and an electronic compass, will guide their wearer through unfamiliar streets. So if you have no sense of direction, can’t read maps and aren’t freaked out by the prospect of having your fingers buzz to tell you when to turn the corner, read on.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Too large to fit into the rings themselves, the GPS and electronic compass are contained in a control unit, which can be attached to clothes or worn around the neck. Postcodes are entered into the device, which then transmits signals to the rings, each housing an antenna and a small vibrating motor. 

Knight developed the system with London women in mind, wanting to equip them to feel confident walking the capital’s streets, but there may well be potential to adapt it to other cities and find a niche in the tourist market. UNESCO’s Creative Cities Networks chairman Philips Dodds envisages the device allowing users to become ‘literate tourists’ and expects it to be particularly popular in cities where visitors are unable to read signage. 

But this piece of techno-bling is likely to appeal as much to the light-fingered as to everyone else, so be careful. It will only take a mugger to filtch either one of the rings and you’ll be walking round in circles until the batteries go flat. 

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