There are a vast array of interactive displays in sectors such as hospitals, airports, supermarkets and libraries. But as the technology advances, car companies and designers across Europe are predicting that in the not-too-distant future, multi-touch windows in cars will exist.
A car window is simply a clear glass panel on the vehicle windscreen to keep the wind and noise out for the driver’s comfort and acts as a safety shield from road debris.
To date the car window is a non-interactive glass panel that is static but car industry experts expect that just as laptop and TV interfaces are fast becoming touch screen, so will the car window. So soon people will be looking at windows rather than just looking through them!
For example, Toyota has collaborated with the Copenhagen Institute of Interactive Design to create the concept “Window to the World” in which car windows add an interactive layer to the scenery outside. At times the window allows the passenger to trace for example the outline of a sheep or cow but in other modes the screen estimates the distance of various objects from outside of the car.
The concept envisions the interactive window recognising objects like barns and bikes and offering vocabulary lessons in other languages. And the popular ‘pinch screen’ mode on many smartphones, in which the user can ‘pinch’ the screen to zoom in, would be available so the passenger could zoom in on objects in the distance of the car.
Glasgow University is undertaking a similar project with Fiat called “heads-up displays” in which computer-screen like windshields for the car driver display data such as fuel levels and speed so the driver doesn’t have to take his or her eyes off the road.
Another example is with Cadillac and Fusion92 who are working on interactive touchscreen car window stickers. The scheme is targeted at enhancing show rooms and it works by displaying the price and car features ordinarily but then when the customer walks by the car window, it comes to life making the glass a fully interactive touch screen kiosk. The prospective buyer can watch videos of the car in action, share information about the car over social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and customise the car’s features.