Toyota developing new multimedia system for back-seat passengers

Goodbye to DVDs of kids' cartoons on long road trips?
Jul 21, 2011

In-car entertainment for back-seat passengers is usually limited to videos but things may soon change and rides would be less boring.

Toyota Motor Europe plans to make the journey for back-seat passengers both playful and educational by teaming up with the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design to come up with what it calls the Window to the World multimedia-system concept.

According to the design institute, the concept "re-defines the relationship between passengers in a vehicle and the world around it by transforming the vehicle's windows into an interactive interface" through the use of augmented reality. Through this technology, what used to be a pane of glass will, in the future, provide passengers with information about landmarks and other objects as they pass. The window can also be used as a canvas for drawings which then interacts with the passing environment.

So far, Toyota Motor Europe and the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design have developed five concepts for the Window to the World:

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1. Drawing in motion - using the car window as a canvas, passengers can draw, using their fingers, and see the images integrating with the outside world as the vehicle moves along;

2. Zooming into captured moments in time - the window becomes a screen for passengers to zoom in on outside objects to see it in a brand-new perspective;

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3. Translating the world in a local language - passengers are exposed to new languages and cultures as they can select elements outside the window and receive a real-time translation in a local language;

4. Augmented distances - pinpoint landmarks in the distance and the window will augment the relative distance to the car on the window surface; and

5. Virtual constellations - the car's panoramic roof displays virtual constellations and information about them with the actual sky as a background.

Two working prototypes of Toyota's Window to the World concept was on display at the Our Future Mobility Now exhibition organized by the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association from June 22 to 25 at the Autoworld Museum in Brussels, Belgium.

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