GM Windows of Opportunity – The Proper Way to Poke and Pinch in the Backseat.

What do you remember doing as a backseat passenger on those long family trips as kid? You probably played a couple of games, tried to name off every car that passed by and pinched and poked your brothers or sisters. But, inevitably, you became a victim which claims millions of backseat riders on said trips:  Backseat Bordom. I’m sure you’ve all experienced it – it’s when you’re stuck there in a lull, eyes glazed over, staring out the window about to doze off.

GM is toying with the idea of changing some of those long-distance drags you may have experience as a passenger into something that is quite entertaining. Imagine the rear passenger windows being a translucent digital display, giving you access to fun visual, entertaining and educational apps.

Enter in the Windows of Opportunity (WOO). The WOO will enable backseat drivers to interact with their windows in a variety of ways through various applications, the applications thus far conceptualized: (Information below provided by Official GM Press Release)

  • Otto – an animated character projected over passing scenery that responds to real-time car performance, weather and landscape. With Otto, passengers can learn about their environment in fun, playful ways.
  •  Foofu – an app that allows passengers to create, explore and discover through finger drawing on window steam.
  • Spindow – an app that provides its users a peek into other users’ windows around the globe in real-time.
  • Pond – an app that allows passengers to stream and share music with other cars on the road, downloads favorite tracks, and share messages with other passengers on the road.”

The project was brought to life by researchers and students from the Future Lab at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Israel. They were confronted by the General Motors Research and Development team with the task to conceptualize new ways for backseat passengers (geared more towards children) to have a richer, more satisfying experience on their trip.

GM does not currently have plans to fully develop the interactive display windows, the researchers and students were given full reign (without concern of mass production) as far as development goes. But if the concept were to go into production, it would likely be in the form of charged “smart glass” which has the ability to reflect projected images while still maintaining transparency.

Omer Tsimhoni, lab group manager for human-machine interface, GM Advanced Technical Center in Israel said;”Projects like WOO are invaluable, because working with designers and scholars from outside of the automotive industry brings fresh perspective to vehicle technology development. WOO is just one of many projects underway at GM that could reinvent the passenger experience in years to come.”

If that statement is any indication of developing this fantastic idea, I think we may have finally found an answer the un-answerable: “How to keep the kids behaved in the backseat.”

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