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