Steering wheels with haptic feedback aren’t anything new. Putting aside your GT5 gaming rig, automakers like Audi, BMW, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz have been equipping steering wheels with the pulsating motors for years, mainly as part of lane departure warning systems that gently vibrate when you begin veering outside the lines. But AT&T Labs and Carnegie Mellon are doing one better, using haptic feedback to provide navigation instructions.
Utilizing 20 individual motors mounted around the wheel, engineers have programmed an off board navigation system to pulse clockwise for right turns and counterclockwise for left turns, negating the need for voice prompts or directional arrows displayed on a screen.
While the bandage wrapped prototype looks like a Logitech controller fresh out of the ER, this is just a proof of concept before Carnegie Mellon publishes its study on new methods of providing feedback to drivers. And with legislators gearing up to enact sweeping anti-distraction laws, this could be a technology AT&T and its partners could pitch to automakers as another way of getting drivers to keep their eyes on the road.
Via Wired Autopia: http://www.wired.com/autopia/