German researchers investigating touchscreen steering wheel

A group of German researchers are working to develop a new touchscreen steering wheel. The wheel itself is a sheet of acrylic rimmed with infrared LEDs. A single infrared camera picks up reflections on the acrylic when touched, allowing a range of gestures to operate everything from the stereo to climate control. The notion is that the tech will allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road and off the various distractions in the cabin, but we're having a hard time swallowing that premise.
Adding yet another screen to a vehicle and forcing drivers to learn a set of gestures for something as simple as turning up the volume or adjusting the air temperature is bound to only add confusion to the mix. Drivers haven't had any trouble manipulating the controls of their vehicles for decades now, so why bother reinventing the wheel? The good news is that the costs to develop and maintain a device like the touchscreen steering wheel are prohibitive enough to keep manufacturers from considering implementation. Check out the full report over at Physorg.


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