Today’s update comes to us via NBC’s Auto News department. Distance driving can be mind-numbingly boring, but looking away from the road to text or change songs can be a life-or-death gamble. Plus, buttons embedded in the wheel only control a fraction of a car’s functionality.
Now German researchers have a steering wheel prototype that puts everything within reach — no glancing needed. “If you have gestures on the steering wheel, you spend more time looking at the street,” said Albrecht Schmidt, a computer science professor specializing in human-computer interaction at the University of Stuttgart in Germany, who worked on the prototype. The team came up with the idea for a multi-touch steering wheel interface while thinking about driving and mobile technology. Their prototype is made from clear acrylic ringed in infrared LEDs. An infrared camera attached to the bottom picks up the reflections made when the surface is touched. A driver can control a radio or navigate a map with simple movements along the surface. Those gestures can be made with the thumbs while still gripping the wheel and looking at the road. For further details, see the rest of the story here. Photo credit: Pervasive Computing and User Interface Engineering Group, University of Duisburg-Essen