You can probably still remember being a kid in the back seat on a long car ride. It was horrible. The dog wouldn’t stop breathing on you and licking your ears. It smelled bad. Worst of all, there was almost nothing to do for more than a few minutes without getting car sick. “Look out the window,” your parents might say, “it’ll make you feel better.”
Well, thanks to some creative thinking and truly futuristic innovation, more kids might be looking out the car window voluntarily. GM turned to the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Israel and asked its students to think of ways to make car rides engaging, enriching and educational. What they came up with will probably peak interest in the most technologically indifferent individuals. Interactive windows.
What’s this? Well, the students from Bezalel essentially got free reign to dream about how to implement smart glass in cars to integrate the outside environment with the passenger experience. There aren’t any plans at the moment to put this technology into production vehicles, which meant they could imagine freely. Their projects didn’t actually use smart glass, though GM said that would be possible in the future.
They came up with many ideas including a character projected into the outside environment that reacts in real time to landscapes, weather and car performance. Another idea allows users to share a window with others around the world. One Project played with the idea of different cars being able to share music with each other, expanding on the curiosity behind being on the highway wondering if that trucker next to you is giving a jubilant rendition of Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl (or not). Finally, one of the ideas evolves from something almost everyone experiences, drawing things in hot breath fog.
This isn’t actually the first example outside Hollywood grandeur that we’ve seen of such technology floating around. Last month we reported a story about Toyota showing off a similar and more focused iteration of smart glass. Toyota’s technology would allow children to tap on things to identify them, zoom in on distant objects and even understand distance and speed by dropping a marker that displays proximity to the car in real time.
Neither manufacturer is ready to bring this sort of stuff to market, but it can’t be that far away either given that Audi is already implementing an environmentally interactive heads up display for drivers as early as 2013.