Paolo Falco Rüegg


Rethinking urban navigation using spatial audio

App Dev UX Design WIP

Whenever we visit a new place, we rely on somebody or something to tell us how to get there. Nowadays, our smartphones have taken over and urban navigation happens almost exclusively through the use of location-based services such as Google Maps. There are two major issues with the overreliance on visual maps in urban navigation:

  • It’s dangerous. You cannot really read a map and observe other traffic or pedestrians at the same time.
  • It’s annoying. If you are walking or cycling, you have to get your phone out of your pocket, for which you often have to stop and interrupt your journey.

Sonav (working title) is a navigation app that uses spatial audio to guide you to your destination – without having to look at or even hold your phone. ​The guiding sound is chosen by the user and could be music from Spotify or audiobooks from Audible. In a nutshell, your music guides you to your destination. The app is designed with a minimalistic UI in mind and currently developed in Unity. The project’s aim is to reduce the amount of required manual interactions that are needed to reach a destination. I am currently using the Mapbox and Movesense APIs to for map information and to achieve head tracking.