Ford has unveiled a prototype smart car window that will allow blind people to “feel the view” that sighted drivers can enjoy.
“From rolling hills to mountain ranges, views make any road trip memorable, but for blind passengers this is part of the experience that they miss,” the company said.
The smart car window aims to change this by enabling blind or partially-sighted people to visualise passing scenery through touch.
The technology works by taking pictures of the nearby scenery which are then turned into high-contrast monochrome images.
These are then reproduced onto the glass using special LEDs. By touching the image, different shades of grey vibrate with a range of 255 intensities, allowing passengers to touch the scene and rebuild in their mind the landscape in front of them.
‘Feel The View’ was conceived and developed by Ford’s team in Italy and GTB Roma in collaboration with Aedo – a local start-up that specialises in devices for the visually impaired.
“We seek to make people’s lives better and this was a fantastic opportunity to help blind passengers experience a great aspect of driving. The technology is advanced, but the concept is simple and could turn mundane journeys into truly memorable ones,” said Marco Alù Saffi, Ford Italy spokesman.
In January 2018, Ford announced that it would invest $11bn (£8bn) in developing electric and hybrid cars over the next five years.