The people who are hooked on to their smartphones and are ridden with phone anxiety, reach for the phone as soon as it pings an alert, instinctively. This happens even while driving and has resulted in a rapid escalation in the number of accidents caused by distracted driving.
To help drivers keep their eyes on the road, NeXt, a US-based technology startup, has come up with a new technological innovation HeadsUP!, a transparent windshield display that integrates with users’ smartphones. It allows them to use phone functions while driving without looking down or taking their hands off the wheel.
The essential phone features, like calling, texting, emails, navigation and other apps are displayed on the windshield of the user’s car for easy accessibility while driving. The apps appear in the lower center of the windshield, without obstructing the driver’s view. The interface supports gesture and voice controls, enabling the driver to keep his hands on the wheel.
To use this technology while driving, the user will need to launch the HeadsUP! app, and connect it to the HeadsUP! interface, either through USB or Bluetooth.
NeXt CEO Arnab Raychaudhuri claims that ‘HeadsUP! technology significantly reduces reaction time while driving’. Arnab further shows in the video how HeadsUP! can also be used for navigation purpose.
The company has recently launched an indiegogo campaign. At the time of writing this article, it had raised USD 2,215 out of a target of USD 50,000 needed to complete engineering & software development and prepare HeadsUP! for mass production.
However, the idea may face reluctance and skepticism from potential backers as it seems to encourage use of smartphones while driving, albeit in a relatively safer way. Added to this is the fact that in several states in the US, texting while driving is completely banned, even with voice commands.
Further, in a country like India, with heavy traffic and low regard for traffic rules, is it really a good idea to encourage usage of phones while driving? The mental distraction caused by engaging with your smartphone while driving also needs to be taken into account, other than just the physical aspect. At this time, it is difficult to say if the technology will be approved by the government and the traffic regulatory authorities.
Therefore, even though the transparent display of HeadsUP and its touch free gesture and voice control may make the user feel Tony Stark-ish, it still remains to be seen if the technology gets a positive response from investors and authorities.
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