Wearable AT for Navigation!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

By Jen Mullins, BS, CTRS, MATP Staff

In a previous AT blog post, I shared that I have a disability that impacts my ability to navigate.  When I walk, bike, drive, etc., without my GPS, I can’t work out where I am or how I need to get where I need to go.  More than just getting “a little turned around”; without GPS, I get completely lost, panic, and need to phone someone (who’s willing to be patient) for help to get where I need to be.  GPS truly makes traveling on my own possible and it is Assistive Technology (AT) that I use daily.

I use Apple Maps on my iPhone to successfully navigate within my local community and beyond.  Recently, I purchased an Apple Watch and was excited to learn how to use a new (to me) technology.  Because my watch is paired to my iPhone, it mirrors what I do on there.  For example, if I’m listening to a podcast on my phone, controls for the podcast appear on my watch (like volume controls, pause, skip, etc.).  When I use Apple Maps on my phone, navigation also shows up on my wrist.  In addition to showing the turn by turn directions, my watch also vibrates and beeps when I’m coming up on a turn or exit I need to take.  While I’m driving, I usually only visually follow along with the navigation on my phone screen, but having those additional audible and physical cues on my wrist makes me feel more aware, safer and more confident about following the course Apple Maps lays out for me.

Do you use Apple Maps or a navigation app?  Which one?  If you use it with an Apple watch, what have you thought about the additional cues you get with your wearable tech?  Comment to keep this conversation going 🙂