General Motors Research and Development is working on a new "Windows of Opportunity" (WOO) project to explore more innovative ways to use interactive technologies to create a more interesting driving experience for car passengers. The task: Conceptualize new ways to help rear seat passengers, particularly children, have a richer experience on the road.
The project was inspired by psychological studies indicating car passengers often feel disconnected from their environment, GM asked the students from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Israel to turn car windows into interactive displays capable of stimulating awareness, nurturing curiosity and encouraging a stronger connection with the world outside the vehicle.
One application lets children "draw on the window." "The smart glass operates as a window into the real world giving us a fuller awareness of our surroundings. It is a means of exploiting technologies, that typically might be seen as disassociating us from the real world, to nurture a closer relationship with it."
Another app Pond, features an animated figure, Otto, who flies along with the passenger's journey and interacts with the environment seen through the window. Passengers can manipulate maps and graphics, pull up background information about the landscapes and buildings in view, play music, and share messages with people outside the vehicle.
The video shows Ayla (in GM concept car as it happens) reading information on the window that helps her orient herself in the city she's visiting. People want interactive tools and easy access to the information that matters to them, but they also want to be engaged with their actual surroundings.