The feelSpace navigation belt is based on 10 years of research at the University of Osnabrueck. In 2005, we started to investigate whether adults can learn a new sense - a "North Sense". In addition to our traditional senses, seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting, can a human actually learn a new sense of orientation, to orient and navigate more intuitively, similar to birds, turtles and fish? To investigate, we equipped several subjects with tactile compass belts that continuously signaled the direction of true north. In these belts, vibration elements were integrated, equally spaced around the waist. Out of these vibration elements, the northernmost one is active at any time during the day. If the belt bearer turns, the signal moves around the waist. The belt bearers are, therefore, always informed about the direction of true north and about their own change within space.
As such, the feelSpace compass belt is a device to augment the senses by projecting the direction of true north directly on the waist of the belt bearer. In a pilot study 2005, we tested whether the belt signals are integrated into perception and behavior. The results turned out quite promising [Nagel et al. 2005] and the project was continued. 2011, after much improvement work on the belt prototypes, we conducted another study with seeing participants who trained with the tactile belt for 7 weeks. A battery of both behavioral and physiological testes document the changes in cognition, perception and behavior during the study time [ Kaspar et al. 2014]. A study with blind subjects 2011 revealed the additional benefit for those who are blind or visually impaired: The signal was helpful in the experimental tasks, but also during many every tasks [Kaercher et al. 2012].