The technology combines the advantages of head-up display, gesture control, and direct touchscreen operation.
BMW is ready to provide “another glimpse into the interior of the future,” revealing a virtual touchscreen concept at the upcoming 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (CES) in early next year. Part of the Bavarian brand’s exposition in LA will be the so-called HoloActive Touch system, an innovative interface between the driver and the vehicle.
Basically, the HoloActive Touch acts like a hologram virtual touchscreen – “its free-floating display is operated using finger gestures and confirms the commands with what the driver perceives as tactile feedback.” The manufacturer promises the technology will combine the advantages of three different systems, currently available on some BMW models – the head-up display, gesture control, and classic direct touchscreen, as seen in the current 7 Series and the new 5 Series. All the features of a car can be controlled without any physical contact with materials, but the technology still enables “the visible and tangible driver-vehicle interaction familiar from conventional touchscreens.”
If you are wondering how the system works, BMW explains - similarly to the HUD, the image of a full-color display is generated by “clever use of reflections – but now in free-floating form within the interior rather than through projection onto the windscreen.” The virtual touchscreen technology projects configurable control pads and is “visible to the driver next to the steering wheel at the height of the center console.” A camera follows the driver’s hands movements and detects the position of their fingertips. When “a fingertip makes contact with one of these virtual control surfaces, a pulse is emitted and the relevant function is activated.”
The HoloActive Touch will be presented at the 2017 CES, which starts on January 5, and is part of the BMW i Inside Future study, which gives “an impression of the mobility experience set to be offered by seamlessly connected and autonomously-driving cars in the future.”