A new touchpad has been developed by a leading auto supplier that can be placed in an arm rest or the center of the steering wheel to let you easily control the radio or even a mobile phone.
While Audi already offers a touchpad in the center console of some of its higher end vehicles, the new device from TRW Automotive Holdings is relatively low in cost and might be used in every day cars.
The touchpad lets you trace a letter such as “R” on the device to access the radio, or “N” for navigation. By tracing a few letters you can access a song on a mobile phone connected to the radio.
The touchpad can also be placed in the center console in addition to the steering wheel or the arm rest of a door.
TRW says its touch pad also gives you an audible acknowledgement of whatever you write, so no need to give it a second glance.
The device can recognize numbers and symbols as well as letters. And it may even be used to send messages.
TRW’s touchpad only uses a few sensors unlike typical capacitive screens to achieve the reduced cost, according to Design News.
When the user touches the screen it sends a signal to a microcontroller that can recognize the changes in capacitance (electrical charge from touch) and “understand” the script.
The device will be ready for production this year.
TRW said it’s research has shown that the use of in-vehicle handwriting recognition operation reduces driver distraction by 78 percent “compared with the alphanumeric keyboard method.”
Based in Livonia, MI, TRW produces integrated vehicle control and driver assist systems, braking systems, steering systems, and many other car components. It reported sales of $16.2 billion in 2011.
Photo via Design News