A purist driver's car is all about the feedback it provides: what the front wheels are doing through the steering wheel, how the gears are meshing through the shift lever, how the brakes are gripping through the middle pedal, how much traction you have through the seat.... Generally electronic intervention (in the form of the latest drive-by-wire systems) only serve to numb that feedback, but here's a technology that could actually use vibrations to tell us more without having to take our eyes off the road.
The innovation is a vibrating shoe – or more specifically, a vibrating insole. Interfacing with the smartphone via Bluetooth, these smart insoles could have any number of applications – for runners, for the visually or audibly impaired, the elderly... but also the driver, racer and motorbike rider. A buzz on the left could prompt you to turn left, a buzz on the right to turn right. A pulse could prompt you to change gears, extended vibration to warn you of imminent danger.
The only limit would be how you'd interpret the different vibrations, but the possibilities are virtually endless, especially when combined with the vibrating seats being produced by the likes of General Motors and Mercedes-Benz that warn you if you're veering out of your lane and such. They could, in theory, even extend navigational guidance to show you how to get from your car to your specific destination, and guide you back to where you parked again, just like Google Glass.
Designed by Ducere Technologies in India, the Lechal rechargeable, water-resistant, washable smart-soles are set to go on sale (either on their own or in their custom-designed shoes pictured above) in the fall with prices running between $100 and $150.