Using your smartphone or tablet while driving is not only illegal in most sane states, it's also just a dangerously stupid thing to do behind the wheel. But since access to your device can make your travels easier, the dashboard-mounted Navdy provides a heads-up display that shares info from your devices, and lets you interact with them through voice and gesture commands.
Using a compact projector and a 5.1-inch transparent display that sits on the dashboard in front of a driver, the Navdy shares specific information from your favourite apps on your iOS or Android smartphone, instead of just mirroring the device's own display and UI. By only sharing selective details, the information that's displayed on the Navdy is less distracting, but still lets the driver keep in touch.
In the event of an incoming call or text message, the driver can use voice commands or simple hand gestures to ignore it or respond. And in lieu of a keyboard, emails and other text-based messages can be composed through dictation. Exactly how much functionality you want while driving, or what messages you want delivered while in the car, can be configured with the Navdy's accompanying app. So if Twitter and Facebook aren't your biggest priority while driving, you can simply opt to leave out those updates.
The Navdy's creators are hoping to raise $US60,000 through a private fundraising campaign to put the device into production, which means you can pre-order one now at a discounted price of $US300, with delivery sometime in early 2015 if everything goes well. As with all crowdfunded projects, that's a big if.
The Navdy isn't the first device that attempts to keep a driver's eyes on the road by projecting their various digital distractions on the windshield in front of them, but it would be the first to work with pretty much any vehicle and iPhones and Android handsets alike. And the fact that it goes the extra mile to allow you to respond to messages and answer calls without taking your eyes off the road should definitely help improve driver safety. The use of gestures might take a little practice for some drivers, but most people on the road are already highly skilled at using hand gestures while driving. [Navdy]