One of the problems in designing cars is that if you design something wrong, it can quite literally kill. Distracted driving, or even just taking your eyes off the road for a second or two, can mean the difference between avoiding a crash and causing one. And now, you’ll better be able to control your car with this touchscreen.
Safe Driving, Total Control
Matthaeus Krenn started from first principles with this design. The key problem with touchscreens is that they’re not tactile. Go to your car, right now, and poke at your car radio. You’ll notice that you can easily flip switches and turn dials without taking your eyes off the road. Touchscreens lack that feature, so Kreen started with simple gestures and built from there.
Finger By Finger
Essentially, it works like this. For each function you want to control, you place a finger; two fingers control the radio, three the heat and cooling, and so on. You don’t have to touch a specific place; the interface aligns under your fingers. Then, drag in a direction on the touchscreen to control. Up and down, left and right, these control the functions. That way, your eyes never have to leave the road and you’ve still got complete and total control of the functions in your car. It’s a system so simple and elegant, we’re a little surprised it’s not already installed in cars across the country.
That said, you actually can’t get this installed in a car just yet. It’s still a prototype, for various reasons, and Krenn hasn’t discussed when it might ship as an official product. That said, though, car manufacturers and open automotive alliances alike could stand to take a few cues from Krenn’s work, and we hope we get a chance to use it in the car of the future.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.