Steering in-car entertainment

A next-generation Neonode-powered steering wheel will respond to gestures. — Picture by Kzenon/shutterstock.comA next-generation Neonode-powered steering wheel will respond to gestures. — Picture by Kzenon/shutterstock.comLAS VEGAS, Jan 6 — Optical touch technology company Neonode is set to demonstrate a super-sensory cart steering wheel that could be used instead of buttons or even voice control to activate vehicle telematics systems.

A number of car manufacturers and technology companies alike believe that the future of the connected car and of operating in-car entertainment and informatics systems is via voice control.

Ford has worked with Microsoft to develop the SYNC platform which cedes to users’ vocal demands, while Mercedes, Honda, Chevrolet and a host of others are looking to embed Apple’s Siri virtual assistant at the heart of their in-vehicle entertainment systems.

However, Neonode Inc believes there is another way, namely via a gesture-and-touch-sensitive steering wheel.

The Next-Generation Neonode-powered steering wheel will allow drivers to use gesturing and touch to control audio, visual, and in-car telematic systems rather than steering-wheel and steering column-mounted buttons and switches.

It is not clear if the device, which will be showcased at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES, January 8-11 in Las Vegas) this month, has already attracted partners within the automotive world, but doing away with steering-wheel mounted buttons, particularly on performance cars, could really help to elevate the driving experience.

For example, the latest Ferrari 458 Italia and its big brother the F12 Berlinetta both feature a number of wheel-mounted and integrated controls that are actually a liability when driving conditions are hard and the wheel isn’t perfectly straight.

The driver is forced to look down at the wheel to locate the turning signals, traction control or suspension settings when he or she should have both eyes on the road.

Of the announcement, Neonode CEO Thomas Eriksson said: “We have made it our mission to develop the next generation of touch solutions, significantly raising the bar and perception of possibilities. Our patented MultiSensing technology has emerged from years of design-driven innovation, and is now enabling user experiences that could transform the way the world interacts with devices.”

Neonode’s MultiSensing technology is already used in a number of smartphones, tablets, in-car infotainment displays and GPS systems built by a number of companies including Sony and Barnes & Noble. — AFP/Relaxnews



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