This is exactly what we need…one more thing to pull our eyes from the road. But, is this really any different from the child in the back-seat with their DVD player strapped to the back of the front-seat or the DSi case in their lap? As a confessed once-upon-a-time mini-van-driving mom with a brood in the back, I know that passenger entertainment is an absolute necessity for the sanity of all. If that entertainment is already built into the vehicle, that’s one less thing to forget to pack for the vacay.
From GM’s R & D department emerges a project called “Windows of Opportunity.” Similar to Toyota’s “Window to the World“ project we heard about last year, GM’s take on truly mobile content brings interactivity to back-seat passengers in the form of a transparent window dashboard. The same technologies that are used in augmented reality are used here to combine with location and performance information provided by the vehicle itself, allowing for passenger entertainment…reinvented.
Kids can draw on the window or enjoy a cartoon travel companion that moves along with the speed of the vehicle. Since the display screen is transparent, the images appear to be involved with the environment on the other side of the window. Call it fun or just a bit scary, but your passengers could finger-jot notes on the “screen” and flip it outward to be viewed by those riding by you. Imagine being able to access a virtual globe, spin it to a location, expand the window, just like on an iPad, and experience that location outside your window.
The apps for this project came via the brilliance of the students at FUTURE LAB, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, in Israel. Their mission from GM was to create interactive apps that could be displayed on rear-passenger windows. I’d say they did a pretty good job. It will be interesting to watch where projects like these go from here, but I think it’s clear that we’ve crossed the bridge of bringing entertainment into every space where we are captive for more than ten minutes. I’m still waiting for someone to figure out how to bring some interactive fun into a DMV waiting room.