Multitouch gestures like those found in Cadillac’s new CUE infotainment system might be outdated sooner than you think because of a tech race between Ford and Harmon.
Using a system similar to what Microsoft’s Xbox depends on for its Kinect motion recognition feature, both companies hope to allow drivers control over their car’s electronics through facial recognition and hand gestures.
While Ford announced its system before Harmon, the alternative supplier hopes to beat the blue oval brand to market. The system will recognize gestures like a wink to turn the stereo on and off, volume controls through head tilting or even tapping the steering wheel to change a song or station.
Far from being restricted to audio controls, Harmon’s system will also affect things like climate when the driver moves hand above the shift knob, or initiating a call via the international pinkie-and-thumb phone gesture.
It works by using a dashboard-mounted infrared sensor. Not to worry, though, the gestures need to be pre-defined, so there won’t be any surprises when you turn your head to check a mirror. Harmon also says the system is sophisticated enough to recognize when a gesture is intentional or accidental.
There could be some entertaining applications depending on how customizable the system turns out to be. What if giving someone the middle finger also honked the horn? Maybe the “hush” sign could lower or mute the radio?