GM Addresses Glass

  As vehicle manufacturers work to find any and all uses for the real estate in vehicles, there is one area that has pretty much gone underutilized: the side window glass.

 

As vehicle manufacturers work to find any and all uses for the real estate in vehicles, there is one area that has pretty much gone underutilized: the side window glass. Sure, there are many OEMs using laminated glass for the front side glass in order to attenuate external noise thanks to the sandwich construction (glass-polymer-glass). But other than that. . . .

So the folks at General Motors Research and Development thought about that glass behind the front seats and had researchers at the FUTURE Lab at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design develop ways to use the car windows as interactive displays.

Said Tom Seder, GM R&D lab group manager for human-machine interface, “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. 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.”

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So the Bezalel researchers and students came up with several apps including Otto, an animated character that provides real-time info about the surrounding environment; Foofu, which is about drawing with window steam; Spindow, which allows users to see what’s happening in other users’ windows around the world; Pond, which allows streaming music and exchanging messages with other passengers in other vehicles.

The prototyping of these apps for what is called “The Windows of Opportunity (WOO) Project” was performed using motion and optical sensor technology from EyeClick.

According to GM, if they were to put something like the results of WOO into production—and there are no plans to—they would use “smart glass”, material that uses suspended particles within the glass that can be electrically controlled.

One wonders about the consequences of what can be written and shared, given road rage. . . . WOO!, indeed.