Build a better iDrive, get $5m in venture capital

From CNN Money's Business 2.0 Magazine, we've learned of a proposal that is anything but indecent. Business 2.0 asked several venture capitalists what projects they would like to fund. Knowing this can be a touchy subject, they were pleasantly surprised to get some of the VCs to divulge their pet projects. The result is an interesting list of 20 business ideas, including websites, applications, batteries and even a luxury housing development. The one that naturally caught our "i" was a call for a next generation iDrive type computer interface that would utilize a heads-up display system. If you think you can build a better mouselesstrap, there could be a cool $5 mil in it for you and your team.

Investors Jonathan Fram and Howard Schultz, of Maveron, are willing to part with five million dollars for an "in-dash computer with a keyboard built into the steering wheel and a full-screen heads-up display projected on the windshield." The technology behind the system, laser or cathode-ray tubes that convert pixels into projected light, has been around for 30 years. Jet fighter pilots use it to read cockpit data without taking their eyes off the road sky. Commercial pilots use it too, and automakers have tried it with mixed results.

Projected displays don't distract drivers as much as cell phones or dashboard controls, and research has shown that our eyes can handle projected displays and the road much easier than refocusing between the road and the dashboard. Fram and Schultz (who helped create Starbucks) think that with the increasing technological needs of today's drivers and the obvious safety advantage of not having to take your eyes off the road, there is enough of a market for a functional system that $5 million is just a drop in the bucket. If you think you have a "deeply qualified 20-person team" that can deliver a prototype, as well as a plan to promote a commercial version to automakers in the next three years, the $5 million could be yours. Follow the read link for details.

[Source: CNN Money via Foursprung]

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