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Belt Compass

The guiding light for blind people

The system which aims to change the navigation for blind people forever.

The Belt compass combines publicly available map data with an innovative software and hardware to ease navigation in urban areas. While it can be used by everyone, we have designed the system specifically for people with visual impairment.

Main Features


The Belt Compass is a unique device that provides a full 360° navigation instructions without affecting your senses and reducing your environment awareness.


A mobile application with only the most important functionality: Planning a pedestrian route and giving turn by turn instructions.


While there are open source routing algorithms for pedestrians available, our approach gives user a better route description like information about crosswalks and obstacles.

Map data

The system uses publicly accessible data sources like Open Street Map to allow anyone easily add missing information or changes.

What do we have?

The Prototype Belt

To prove the concept, we have created a prototype belt which allows us to simulate the navigation system. The prototype uses 4 actuators to indicate the user where to go. Our goal is to make the belt so easy to use that you can focus on your journey.

Map Data

We have created a script to extract information about pathways and crosswalks from the openly available map data by système d'information du territoire à Genève (SITG). After processing and aggregation we are able to enrich the Open Street map datasets and use them in our application.

Routing Algorithm

The crucial part of the problem is the navigation algorithm. Many existing solution put the user directly in the middle of the route; and even thought there are systems that prioritise the walkways, the route description is lacking. To create a fully functional navigation system for blind people we needed to improve the routing and the route description. Information like there is a crosswalk ahead or there is a tree near the pathway become very important since the blind person can not simply 'see' them.