It's hard to remember how we found our way around in a new city (or, heck, even the city we've been living in for the past decade) before GPS. Whether we're using Apple Maps on our phones or getting turn-by-turn directions from our in-dash navigation systems, we've come a long way since the days of trying to read a folding map. Or, worse — guessing which way to go, and ending up hopelessly lost.
But, while most of us would agree that a world with GPS is better than one without, it's not a perfect system, especially for traveling in totally unfamiliar terrain. Tracking your location on a screen while walking on a busy street can be not only impractical, but even downright dangerous. And, who wants to be the clueless tourist, trying to figure out whether you were supposed to bear right at the last street, or turn left at the next one?
Well, now, there's another option. This new piece of wearable GPS technology lets your jacket — yes, your jacket — do the work of navigating. Embedded into each garment are pieces of hardware that vibrate when you need to turn left or right (the vibrations change intensities and locales depending on how far left or right you need to turn). Says cofounder and design director Billie Whitehouse, "These jackets give you the most authentic experience in your city of choice. No longer do you need to be hunched over a map or a smartphone. Now, you can experience [travel] as a traveler rather than a tourist."
To use it, you plug your destination into the Navigate app, and then put your phone away. You'll be able to figure out how far along you are in your journey, the distance to the next turn, and the direction in which that turn will be. So far, there are three different cities — Paris, New York, and Sydney — programmed into the jackets (which will be available in size XS to XL). As for the design, the blazer-style toppers are not quite as understated as the technology, coming in a look-at-me red-gray-black color combination (past versions included hot pink with an aggressive athletic stripe). Nevertheless, it's a technology that's super-exciting, especially for those of us who'd do anything to fit in with the locals. Click here to learn more about the jacket, which just might prove to be a real game-changer for travelers.