Microsoft Kinect

It looks as if the gesture-sensitive interface for the Cadillac Cue infotainment system is just the beginning of gesture integration in our vehicles. Wired reports that Microsoft is already investigating ways to incorporate technology lifted from its Xbox Kinect. Likewise, Harman has unveiled a new system that recognizes both hand and facial cues to control various cabin features. Drivers can reportedly use eye blinks to turn the stereo on, tilt their heads to turn up the volume and even tap the steering wheel to skip songs. Temperature adjustment gets taken care of by raising or lowering a hand above the gear shift, while pulling up a Bluetooth-connected phone is as simple as mimicking a phone with a hand.

How does it work? The system relies on an infrared sensor to "watch" for certain gestures. When it sees them, it passes a signal to separate processor, which in turn handles the connected hardware.

That sounds all well and good, but as anyone who's stood cursing at a motion-activated faucet in an airport restroom can tell you, these systems aren't foolproof. Fortunately, Harman says it won't have anything ready for market until it's been thoroughly tested, which may be up to three years from now.