ISDEF 2019: TrekAce Wristband Navigation

TrekAce is an Israeli company that is offering a navigation solution to soldiers in the field that does not require a GPS signal connection or satellite feed to work. The company is currently one of many others involved in a joint U.S.-Israeli start-up competition that is looking for better technologies for both governments.

6 ‘prongs’ make up the vibrating navigation system in use on the wristband- Miles V

How the system works is through a digital interface where users can input tracks and maps along with specific directions. Through TrekAce’s systems these directions are programed into a ‘feeling’ language wherein a user can ‘feel’ through a wristband and know the directions. The wristband uses a number of soft prongs that are situated in a starlike-pattern above their forearm in the wristband. These prongs vibrate according to the orientation of the directions needed. As an example, if a patrol needs to make a sharp left, then the left-most prongs will vibrate, indicating that a left turn needs to be made.

Although having a large number of these directions might seem overwhelming, TrekAce claims that it only takes a matter of hours to become proficient enough in the system so that a user could navigate with it in the field on their own.

This is one of the companies video infomercials-

While handling the device it immediately became apparent that this application could have use in free fall parachute navigation where a user needs to be completely cognizant of obstacles both in the air and on the ground, while having to make important navigation decisions at the same time.

The newer TrekAce wristband uses a ratchet system similar to what is used on commercial ski boots in order to tighten it, and then press down to unwind- Miles V
Older variant on the left using velcro, newer variant on the right. Both have a digital screen that can help observe the status of the system- Miles V
The system can be programed from a smart phone- Miles V
A partial list of the available vibration commands on the app- Miles V
What about floors and buildings? The system can show where individual users are located, in addition to being able to work through navigating multiple floors- Miles V