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GM and Bezalel Academy of Art and Design develop Windows of Opportunity smart glass tech [w/video]

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 00:00:00 -0800

General Motors' Research and Development has collaborated with Bezalel Academy of Art and Design's Future Lab students to conceptualize new ways in which rear seat passengers – who traditionally feel disconnected from their environment – have a richer experience on the road.

The result is the Windows of Opportunity project, a series of applications developed by the Bezalel students and built into full-size prototypes using multi-touch and gesture sensing surfaces developed by ClickEye. The projects were:

– Otto an animated character projected over passing scenery that responds to real-time car performance, weather and landscape. With Otto, passengers can learn about their environment in fun, playful ways.

– Foofu an app that allows passengers to create, explore and discover through finger drawing on window steam.

– Spindow an app that provides its users a peek into other users’ windows around the globe in real time.

– Pond an app that allows passengers to stream and share music with other cars on the road, downloads favorite tracks, and share messages with other passengers on the road.

The windows incorporate electrically-charges smart glass, similar to the Samsung's Smart Window that was shown at CES earlier this month.

"Traditionally, the use of interactive displays in cars has been limited to the driver and front passenger, but we see an opportunity to provide a technology interface designed specifically for rear seat passengers," said Tom Seder, GM R&D lab group manager for human-machine interface. "Advanced windows that are capable of responding to vehicle speed and location could augment real world views with interactive enhancements to provide entertainment and educational value."

The idea of rethinking the experience of rear-seat passengers is something of an emerging trend, with Renault in particular exploring new ways to keep children entertained with its R-Space and Frendzy concepts.

There's no word yet on whether, if the technology reaches production, there will be some way to censor bored passengers' doodles. The potential for offending other road users is enormous.

Related articles:
Design Review: Renault Frendzy concept

By Owen Ready