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Augmented reality windows being developed for Toyota

By

July 25, 2011

The 'Window to the World' project is developing interactive touchscreen windows, for use i...

The 'Window to the World' project is developing interactive touchscreen windows, for use in Toyota vehicles

As a child sitting in the back of the family car, did you ever use your finger to doodle in the condensation on the inside of the windows? Well, a group of engineers and designers from Toyota Motor Europe's Kansei1 Design Division and the consultancy arm of the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID) have taken car-window-doodling into the 21st Century. They've created a prototype system that could turn the side windows of Toyotas into touchscreen augmented reality devices, allowing passengers to interface with the passing scenery.

Called "Window to the World," the technology was developed with five main concepts in mind. The first of these, called "Drawing in Motion," would allow passengers to draw on the window with their fingers. As the vehicle moved, however, their drawing would stay "attached" to the real world objects it was drawn around - if a child drew a tree beside a pond, for instance, that tree would stay lined up with the pond, until it scrolled off the window.

In a manner similar to that with which smartphone users zoom in on photos with their fingers, Toyota passengers could use their fingers to zoom in on objects seen through the window. By using a distance function, they could also obtain on-window read-outs of how far away different objects and landmarks were from the car.

A similar function would let them see and hear the words for selected objects, in the language of the area through which they were being driven. Finally, the "Virtual Constellations" function would work with the car's roof windows, pointing out and displaying information on the constellations visible through the glass.

Although neither Kansei1 nor CIID have provided any information on how the system actually functions (such as how the window knows which angle it's being viewed from), two working prototypes have reportedly been built, and were on display last month at the "Our Future Mobility Now" exhibition in Brussels.

A simulation of how the system would work in an actual car can be seen below.

Source: 7 Gadgets

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
8 Comments

The more crap they pile into the horseless carriage - the more annoying they become.

"Oh lets have a 3D interactive entertaiment center, on every seat for every child - with a minimum of 500... no make that 5000 channels...."

More bored and stupid consumers being trained from the word go to accept whatever crap they are fed.

After reading this article - when I have kids, they will only ever go anywhere, that we ever go, on the bicycles that they ride, or in the shoes that they wear.

Mr Stiffy
25th July, 2011 @ 06:47 pm PDT

Don't agree with you much Mr Stiffy but this one.....right on! :-)

mrhuckfin
26th July, 2011 @ 04:24 am PDT

While yes the idea of augmented reality windows to entertain kids in the car seems a bit pointless and gimmicky, it does just show how quickly augmented reality is going to become commonplace in day to day life.

-Dave Taylor

-www.davetaylormedia.co.uk

Dave Taylor
26th July, 2011 @ 04:54 am PDT

Is this something people will actually want to pay for? It would be more practical to include tint adjustable windows or even builtin auto-shutting window visors.

Ky Tran
26th July, 2011 @ 08:16 am PDT

The little girl, while cute, isn't wearing her seat belt. Those were invented quite a while ago.

Marty Martin
26th July, 2011 @ 08:21 am PDT

This seems like it could be a lot more worth while, and a lot less annoying, if it were either 1) meant as a driving aide (a small navigation arrow at the bottom of the windshield, next to a heads-up speedometer that displayed the last detected speed sign nearby, and maybe a little red proximity indicator) 2) not attached to the car (maybe something with suction cups and a place to plug in via USB for charging) or 3) a little better at what it does (seriously, I don't think a computer can tell the difference between grass and short corn at 100 km/h, and after miles of farm land any sane parent will be so tired of hearing "grass... grass... grass..." that they will trade their car in at the next town). Finally, I don't get it - go count the number of cars with more than one person in the vehicle, and then tell me that it's worth pouring millions of dollars into a market that only represents a fraction of a fraction of vehicle sales.

Again, if this were a HUD for the windshield it would be amazing. Otherwise, augmented reality doesn't make a lot of sense outside of mobile devices.

Charles Bosse
26th July, 2011 @ 09:02 am PDT

Strangely enough this video doesn't play on my Android HTC Desire HD running Dolphin HD 6...

Can Gizmag choose videos formats that are more standard?

Stuart Halliday
27th July, 2011 @ 10:21 am PDT

While many have poured scorn on the tech I think that just shows a lack of imagination. If this tech works then a Military vehicle with a touch screen windscreen, where rather than "grass... grass... grass..." you get "IED, IED, Sniper" tagged instead (either historical data for info or live feeds from alternative sensors).

DaddyHoggy
9th August, 2011 @ 07:31 am PDT
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