BMW is heading to the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to demonstrate a new “contactless” touchscreen technology called AirTouch.
It sounds like an oxymoron, but the contactless touchscreen will allow the user to have intuitive control of entertainment, navigation and communication functions with simple gestures made with a flat hand. The technology will be demonstrated in a Vision Car concept that will also preview how the interior and user interface of the future might look like.
The AirTouch technology will also allow the display in a vehicle to be operated like a touchscreen without actually having to make contact with the surface with sensors recording the hand movements in the area between the center console and interior mirror. As a result, drivers and passengers can change the focus on the surface of the large panorama display while a simple confirmation selects the relevant menu item or activates an icon.
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The technology will also demonstrate the possibility of three-dimensional control. There is also a concealed AirTouch button located on the rim of the steering wheel that can activate a program or change a setting with one tap. The passenger also has a similar button located on the side sill in the door area that allows them to use one hand to navigate through the menu and the other hand to confirm inputs very quickly.
Last year, BMW demonstrated new gesture control technology at CES that is now available in the new 7 Series. It is likely we will see AirTouch head to production vehicles sooner than later.
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