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GM Looks Through 'Windows Of Opportunity'

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On: Thu, Jan 19, 2012 at 10:22AM | By: Chris Salamone

GM Looks Through 'Windows Of Opportunity'

What are automakers supposed to do as children become so entrenched in media exposure that they appear literally incapable of sitting quietly in the backseat? Surely today’s rear-seat DVD players and quasi-interactive gaming consoles won’t be enough to entertain kids of the future – when road trips will become something of an exercise in punishment. In a stroke of visionary boldness, GM has already pioneered a strategy to combat these rare moments of childhood un-productivity.

General Motors Research and Development issued a challenge to the students of FUTURE LAB (seriously) at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Israel to conceptualize new ways of helping rear seat passengers enjoy a richer riding experience. Their response: smart glass interface technology.

Although GM has no immediate plan to put interactive windows into the company’s current production lineup, technology derived from the Windows of Opportunity project might reinvent the driving experience in years to come. Recognizing that, the good General was quick to mention the main benefit of free-range R&D in their press release: freedom from the restrictions of market costs.

The students of Bezalel were allowed full creative discretion to develop WOO applications without worrying about real world implications like practicality, efficiency, or mass production capability. Although a risk with any project, it looks like GM hit a home run with this one. Who wouldn’t want interactive glass applications?

Current WOO Apps include:

  1. Otto: an animated character that responds to car performance, landscape and weather.
  2. Foofu: allows finger drawing.
  3. Spindow: provides its users a look into other users’ windows around the globe (somewhat creepy).
  4. Pond: allows passengers to stream and share music and messages with other cars on the road.

If WOO type applications are ever to be used by automakers they will likely operate via electronically charged ‘smart glass’ – which is capable of translucence, transparency, and total reflection. For those not in the know, smart glass is already used in fancy architectural or display projects, but rarely seen in cars.

Unfortunately we aren’t likely to see Otto, Foofu, Spindow, or Pond in the near future, but perhaps a day will come when smart glass reaches the mass market. Until then, we’ll have to wait for the good folks at the FUTURE LAB to divine a cheap method of production.

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Stephy21 | 9:40AM (Fri, Jan 20, 2012)

I think this would be a great feature to put in cars but my only concern would be how much higher would this technology make the car that it is in? Hopefully in years to come they will figure out a way to make it cheap and affordable.


Sami18 | 10:06AM (Fri, Jan 20, 2012)

This is a awesome technology. Kids would actually wanna go places if they had this in cars.

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