Close-up of a touch-based driving navigation device attached to the steering wheel showing the red TrackPoint computer mouse taken from an old IBM ThinkPad (Image: William Provancher, University of Utah)
Two devices, mounted on the steering wheel of a driving simulator, convey navigation information to the driver (Image: Nate Medeiros-Ward, University of Utah)
University of Utah psychology doctoral student, Nate Medeiros-Ward, operates a driving simulator with a steering wheel equipped with two touch devices that pull the skin on his index fingertips left or right (Image: Justin Lukas, University of Utah)
In-car navigation systems that literally tell drivers where to go are much more convenient and safer than resting a street directory on one’s lap and quickly trying to devise a route on a map at a set of traffic lights. But audio instructions may not always be the best way to impart directional information to hard of hearing drivers or those yakking on a mobile phone – with a hands-free kit I should hope. A new study suggests that devices mounted to a steering wheel that pull the driver’s index fingertips left or right could help motorists drive more safely. The same technology could also be attached to a cane to provide directional cues to blind pedestrians.
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