Ford has developed a prototype smart car window that uses vibrations to ‘illustrate’ the view to blind passengers.
The Feel The View technology, which was created by Ford's Italian division in partnership with tech start-up Aedo, converts a visual image into vibrations of varying intensities so that a blind or partially sighted person can feel the landscape.
It works by taking a picture of the view on the other side of the window and converting it into a black and white image. Each of the varying shades of grey in the image is then represented by a vibration, with 255 intensities in total.
“We seek to make people’s lives better and this was a fantastic opportunity to help blind passengers experience a great aspect of driving,” said a Ford spokesman. “The technology is advanced, but the concept is simple – and could turn mundane journeys into truly memorable ones.”
Although only a concept at this stage, the technology illustrates the further-reaching role that cars could play in a future. Ford’s investment into alternative technology was ramped up recently as part of new efficiency-boosting measures rolled out across the business.
Ford is freeing up $11.5 billion (about £10bn) from existing programmes to fund the development of new propulsion systems and alternative technologies. Part of this cost-adjustment process will see the Fiesta and all saloons dropped from Ford’s US line-up.