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Check This Out: GPS Top Hat Gives Directions With Audio Cues The prototype may look ludicrous, but it's both hands-free and language-free.

By Jon Fingas

This story originally appeared on Engadget

Bruce Land | Youtube

Never mind pulling out your phone to get directions to the pub ... how about some fine headwear?

A team of Cornell University students has developed a GPS-enabled top hat that relies solely on directional sound for navigation. It uses a mix of amplitude and phase shifting to make it seem like audio cues are coming from the direction you're supposed to be going. The prototype may look ludicrous, but it's both hands-free and language-free -- you don't need to wait for instructions before turning down a side street.

You're unlikely to ever buy a GPS-capable hat, but the technology involved isn't just for show. Some variant of this could easily be useful in navigation apps, where it would save you from looking at a screen to check your progress. That'd be handy if you're in a hurry, of course, but it'd be particularly vital for blind and poor-sighted people who need non-visual cues for GPS to work at all.

Jon Fingas is an associate editor at Engadget.

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