Good vibrations to aid car drivers

Oxford University is working with a Japanese car manufacturer to design vehicles with tactile warning alarms built in to the seat, seatbelt, steering wheel and even foot pedals to enable drivers to feel their way through traffic and get warnings about impending danger.

The group are developing ways of sending the sort of vibrations used in mobile phones to car seats, steering wheels or foot pedals.

“Vibrations are cheap, they are very personal and they are pleasant compared to sounds. They automatically grab your attention, and they are implicitly directional. If you feel something from your belly you feel it is out there in front, if you feel it in your back you know you should look behind,” explained Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist at Oxford.

“We’re very keen that the vibration will only be provided by a part of the car that is already in contact with the driver, such as the seat bottom, the back and sides of the seat, the seatbelt. We’re also thinking about a vibrating steering wheel to give directional cues and others are looking at a vibrating foot pedal to get you suddenly to move your foot off the pedal.”

Denso, a Japanese supplier of car parts, predicted that all new cars will have tactile instrumentation by 2015.

Via New Zealand.