Smartphone heads-up display systems that project navigation and other information onto car windshields are seen as a way to reduce driver distraction. The HeadsUP! from tech start-up NeXt takes a different approach. Rather than relying on projection, this system is based around a transparent display mounted in front of the windshield that gives drivers control of their most commonly used phone applications without taking their eyes off the road.

The HeadsUP! connects to the user’s smartphone through either Bluetooth or USB and displays applications such as messages, mail, voice calls and navigation onto the windshield. While inactive the display remains transparent, automatically activating when a call or message is received and enabling the use of voice or gestures control.

The device consists of an 11-inch, transparent OLED screen (TOLED), in-built speakers and a microphone, plus IR, ambient light and gyroscope sensors. NeXt says that the unit will be compatible with both iOS and Android.

A patent for HeadsUP! is currently pending and prototypes have been developed. NeXt has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo which aims to raise US$50,000 to complete engineering and software development with a view to mass production. Pledges start at $299 for donors wanting to get their hands on (or is that off) the HeadsUP! If all goes well, shipping is estimated to begin in August 2014.

As with all head-up displays, its major benefit lies in the reduction of distractions for road users. “There are over 1.6 million texting accidents per year. We believe innovation and technology is the answer,” says NeXt CEO Arnab Raychaudri.

Raychaudri runs us through the thinking behind HeadsUP! in the video pitch below.

Source: NeXt