Toyota’s award-winning augmented reality concept
Last year, we introduced our ground-breaking interactive augmented reality vehicle concept called “Window to the World”. The concept was first unveiled at the Our Future Mobility Now event in Brussels hosted by the European automobile manufacturers association, ACEA. One year on and our innovative concept has just been awarded the prestigious Core77 2012 Design Award! More and a video of the concept in action after the break.
The concept is the brainchild between engineers and designers from our own Kansei Design Division at Toyota Europe and the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID). Our Kansei gurus at our European R&D centre in Belgium work on what we call “emotional design”. What they do is creating products appealing to the emotions generated when we touch or feel certain things.
So what does this interactive window do? Well, the concept came about when our designers decided to create something that’s not just pretty to look at but something that can bring genuine value to passengers in a car.
The concept allows back seat passengers to not only use the window as a transparent canvas to draw objects, but also allowing them to interact with the surroundings.
With the first feature, passengers can draw on the window using their fingers. The resulting image will then interact with the outside world as the car moves along.
But, our designers wanted to do more and decided that, using modern technology, the window can become a digital screen. Passengers can use their fingers to pinch-zoom into the surroundings and get a better look at something further away.
Can you imagine that? Instead of squinting to see if that’s a sheep or another furry mammal, all you need to do is pinch-zoom like on your smartphone and you can quickly gain a new perspective.
Next up is to bringing in a little educational element. As the car passes a tree, for example, the passenger only needs to touch the point as the tree passes the window and the car will automatically figure out what it is and say it back in the local language.
On a road trip around the continent, you’ll definitely be able to learn something new everyday.
“How far is that church to us?” Well, that question can also be answered by our Window to the World concept. Simply point and touch the window and the landmark’s distance to the car will be estimated by the system and information displayed right on the screen.
If you have a panoramic roof in your car, our clever concept has one more neat little trick up its sleeve. At night, the roof can display virtual constellations and information about them transparently overlaid over the actual sky as a backdrop.
Cool, right? Well, it’s still a concept for now, but we are moving into phase two of the project thanks to the great feedback we’ve gotten back from all of you, and the millions of fans who watched our video last year. Keep an eye out here and you’ll be the first to know!
Here’s a funny clip from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno from last year. It gave us all the giggles in the office.
And there’s more! Earlier this year, General Motors launched what they called “Window of Opportunity”. GM describes it as: “turning [sic] car windows into interactive displays capable of stimulating awareness, nurturing curiosity and encouraging a stronger connection with the world outside the vehicle.”
Notice something? Yup, we know… But, you know what? We all felt that our Detroit friends were quite sporting, especially naming their project after ours. It’s never bad for some friendly competition and I’m sure it’ll help challenge our designers and engineers from both sides of the Atlantic to come up with something really mindblowing!