Paolo Falco Rüegg


Rethinking urban navigation using spatial audio

Work in progres App Dev UX Design Unity

Whenever we visit a new place, we rely on somebody or something to tell us how to get there. Long gone are the days in which we used to ask people for directions; our smartphones have taken over. Nowadays, urban navigation happens almost exclusively through the use of location-based maps like Google Maps and so on. There are two major issues with the overreliance on visual maps in urban navigation:

  1. It can be dangerous. You cannot really read a map and observe other traffic or pedestrians at the same time.
  2. It can be 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 or audiobooks that he or she is interested in listening to. In a sentence, your music guides you to your destination.

I am designing and developing the app in Unity with a minimalistic UI. The aim is to reduce the required manual interactions to reach your destination. The project relies on the Mapbox API and the Movesense API to achieve head tracking and location-based map services.