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IAA: Force Feedback I September 22, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in innovative interfaces, physical interaction design.
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Denso, a “global supplier of automotive technology, systems and components” and part of the Toyota group, presented at this year’s IAA a steering wheel with force feedback:


(own image)

From the design one can easily see that Denso is a Japanese company…

I had the chance to try the system: unfortunately the wheel could not be used as a steerting wheel in the demo, which I though was odd: one could only experience the force feedback without using the steering wheel in the regular manner.

The warning of approaching cars felt a little bit as if my steering wheel is a phone vibrating. I was not too impressed.

In emergency situations, this system starts steering by itself to avoid a crash. This in itself is a nice idea, however I was surprised that this auto-steering could be experienced in the steering wheel. Why would you like to experience that in such a situation? I am not sure…

Actually, I am big fan of the idea of force feedback in the steering wheel. However, I guess this force feedback needs to be crafted much more with the user’s expectation in mind and much more subtle than current solutions. Another problem I see is that it is difficult if each car has an own standard for force feedback (or any ambient information display). Imagine you sit in an rented car and all the sudden the steering wheel starts vibrating – and you have no clue why… A scary idea!

 

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