Haptic Steering Wheels Could Save You From The Blinding Sun

Let's say you're flying down the road at high speed, listening to some tunes and having a grand old time. And then, Mr Sun just happens to peek out from behind a distant building/mountain/hill and punches you straight in the eyes. You're blinded by the light. Whatchu gonna do?

Well step one is to hopefully not run yourself off the road and die and a steering wheel being designed by Eelke Folmer and Burkay Sucu at the University of Reno in Nevada could help with that. The idea of using vibration in steering wheels to help guide drivers from point A to point B has been floating around for a while, but this iteration is more about keeping you from getting lost straight into a tree.

Using vibrations tuned to 275Hz (a frequency that's perfect for human hands) the wheel would vibrate on the left and right sides to coax you between the lines. It wouldn't just do this on its own, of course. The action would be triggered by some sort of light sensor that'd guess when you're blinded, and the vibrations would be guided by some of the same tech that's used to keep self-driving cars on the road.

So far the tech has fared well in testing; it's just a matter of making sure the vibrators are appropriately placed and that there are enough of them. Personally I'm holding out for cars that can just drive themselves, blinding light or no, but I guess this wouldn't be a bad mid-step to keep me alive until then. [New Scientist]



    "it’s just a matter of making sure the vibrators are appropriately placed and that there are enough of them."


    cool, so you can blame the steering wheel when you run over a pedestrian

    Last edited 20/01/13 10:08 pm

    This will never work, it's a lame idea, probably a graduation project, I wouldn't want to have something like this in my car

    This may be semi-off topic:

    I've always thought that the blinker for turning is old and outdated. The problem is a lot of people don't hear it over their music, and don't look at their dash enough. Wouldn't it be useful to have haptics like mentioned above on either side of the wheel to notify you which signal is on? Probably a non-issue really, but I wouldn't mind a feature like that because this happens to me too.

      and vibrations when approaching red lights, and vibrations when getting too close to another car, and vibrations when you forgot to take the hand brake off, and vibrations when your traction control kicks in, and vibrations when approaching young kids running after their basketball on the road, vibrations when your eyes start to get fatigued. The driver wont know why the hell his steering wheel keeps vibrating! maybe he's just driving on the white bumpy lines on the side of the freeway - poor fella...

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