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Touchpad Steering Wheel Keeps Eyes on the Road

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touchpad steering wheel

Credit: BMW

Intel researchers have developed a touch-sensitive steering wheel that enables drivers to call up information that is displayed on the windshield. "We're looking at very simple touch interactions that don't require a visual focus," says Intel's Victoria Fang.

The researchers used a three-dimensional printer to create a secure housing for a sheet of touch-sensitive material that they embedded in one of the spokes of a steering wheel. During testing, the researchers found that users are most comfortable operating the touchpad using the thumb of their right hand. Quick taps on the pad accept actions recommended by the display, such as "dim headlights" or "view accident location on satnav," while a swipe toward the left deletes a suggestion and swiping up or down scrolls through a menu of actions. The researchers also are exploring subtle audio prompts when new items appear on the display.

University College London researcher Peter Bentley says the touchpad could be beneficial for simple activities such as choosing music or changing volume while driving, and perhaps setting the cruise control.

From New Scientist
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