At first glance, you wouldn’t think that the TERRA is actually a compass. It looks more like a smooth rock with its black, minimalist design. But that’s where it sets itself apart from any of its kind and more.

A collaborative project by Modem Works and Panter&Tourron, this AI-powered compass was inspired by the concept of wanting to wander outdoors sans the fear of getting lost.  Instead of following a pre-planned route, it takes you on an unexpected journey while ensuring that you’ll be able to return to where you started.

The TERRA “is a companion for mindful wandering,” offering improvised trails using its sophisticated AI. The AI effectively translates your intentions, available time, and precise location into a tailored trail of GPS coordinates. Moreover, this device has a specifically-designed minimal interface, contradicting that of a phone’s interface which can sometimes only lead to distractions on your journey. The interface features a tranquil compass needle and offers a gentle haptic feedback.

Before you start on your wandering, you need to input your starting GPS coordinates and available time into the interface. Then the AI will take you on a hike or a walk and will guide the way using the compass needle and through the haptic feedback. Aside from being minimalist, this compass also allows for customization through its open-source software.

You can download the software and CAD models and even try your hand in building the TERRA yourself if you have the necessary tools and parts. You can choose your preferred color, shape, and interface layout. As Modem co-founder Bas van de Poel says, this compass “explores how we can reconnect with ourselves and our surroundings in times of relentless digital device distractions.” 

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Images courtesy of Modem Works