August 11, 2014
Belgian 3D vision company SoftKinetic believes the future will include using hand and finger gestures to operate some of your car’s controls, such as the navigation system, radio volume, and air conditioning. SoftKinetic’s system works by mounting a camera with radar-like technology that can recognize the slightest hand gestures, even in complete darkness. With the help of Delphi Automotive, SoftKinetic is hoping to get its product in a production vehicle later this year.
SoftKinetic’s hardware isn’t just a motion sensor. Instead, it uses a sensor that measures the time it takes infrared light to bounce back from a surface, making it possible for users to simply move their finger in a small circular motion to turn up the volume.
Drivers can also operate the navigation system, the climate control, phone and entertainment functions with small hand gestures.
The system is not made to replace existing dashboard buttons or voice commands, though. Instead, the SoftKinetic team hopes it can make up for some of the current shortcomings of dashboard technology. For example, speech recognition systems in the car can be thrown off by noisy kids. Also, car makers only have so much room on the steering wheel for extra buttons.
Car companies are always looking for new ways to put more technology into vehicles. “Automakers are trying to offer more features without requiring drivers to constantly fiddle with knobs and buttons,” reports Bloomberg.