Yikes! Get ready for some future shock:
Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation -- This device directly supports non-verbal human behavior. Its most direct application is in walking guidance and postural support. Other possible applications include automatic avoidance of collisions or falls, GPS-guided walking navigation, and pedestrian flow control.
This "emerging technology" was demonstrated a few weeks ago in Los Angeles at SIGGRAPH 2005, an international conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques. [Thanks to blog reader Mark B. for this tip!]
The fact sheet from the product developers says:
One implication of this technology is its possible role in maintaining safety standards for electrical stimulation. Popularization of ubiquitous technology is another, because it would be useful for crowd control to have people walk in the same direction and sway to avoid collisions. . .
There is no feeling of enforced action. Because users are navigated very naturally and almost unconsciously, they are not distracted by the stimulation and are aware that their behavior was an effect of the stimulation only afterward.
I guess some science fiction is science fact.
UPDATE: You can watch an eerie video demonstrating this technology here. It is not very convincing to me that "users are navigated very naturally and almost unconsciously," nor that "they are not distracted by the stimulation and are aware that their behavior was an effect of the stimulation only afterward." I'm no expert in neuroscience, of course, but those claims appear to be contradicted by the video.