New gadget that controls a cars functions with just a wink or a nod of the drivers head

New gadget that controls a car's functions with just a wink or a nod of the driver's head

By Daily Mail Reporter

Engineers have come up with a whole new way driving using just facial expressions after creating a gadget that controls a car's functions using nods and winks.

The infra-red sensor is mounted on the dash board and recognises the driver's facial expression to control the car.

A computer concealed inside the car translates the gestures which corresponds to a list of commands for the radio, Sat Nav, heating and mobile phone.

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Facial recognition: Driver Amy Benville, 23, tests out the gadget by tilting her head to the left to turn the volume of the radio up

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Cool rider: Drivers can adjust their air conditioning by raising and lowering their hand above the gear stick

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Hans Roth, director of technology at Harman which designed the system, said the device is only two or three years away from hitting the roads

The gestures, which are being tested before they are finalised, include a wink to turn the radio and music player on and off.

The technology is meant to be able to differentiate between an accidental blink and a wink by the length of time of the action before turning the radio on or off.

Drivers can nod left to turn the volume up and right to turn it down while a tap on the steering wheel to skip the station or song.

Motorists can even make a phone call by making the 'lifting the receiver gesture' with their hand and dial by saying the name of the person they wish call.

Motorists can even control the air conditioning and heating by raising and lowering their left hand above the gear stick which has another computer sensor mounted inside.

The technology means drivers would be able to control the functions inside the car without being distracted from the road.

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Keeping connected: Drivers can also make phone calls simply by making the receiver gesture and then saying the name of the person they wish to call

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Changing times: Tapping along to music on the steering wheel could be a thing of the past as the system takes a wheel tap as a signal to skip the song or station

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The list of gestures are now being tested across the globe to make sure they are culturally acceptable in all countries

Engineers from global infotainment specialists Harman have created a prototype car which could hit the roads in two years time.

Hans Roth, director of technology at Harman, said: 'It’s all about reducing distractions in the car.


These basic gestures are being testing around the globe to find the ideal system that can be used in countries around the world:

Wink - To turn the radio on and off.

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Nod left - Turn the volume up.

Nod right - Turn the volume down.

Tap finger on steering wheel - Skip radio channel or song.

Left hand up (above gear stick) - Turn the heating on.

Left hand down (above gear stick) - Turn the air-conditioning on.

Phone gesture - To make a call.

'If you don’t have to take your hands off the wheel or look down then it’s obviously safer.

'The first one we worked on uses hand gestures and facial recognition so things like a wink or a nod or even a tilt of the head.

'You would make a gesture with your hand, like tapping your finger or making a movement.

'That is two or three years from being available in mass production in cars.

'All of these could change different functions in the car, from the radio to the heaters to CDs and navigation systems.

'We are still testing a list of gestures which could be standard for all cars across the world.

'We’ve started it and now it’s about choosing the right gestures and getting it to production.

'You’ve got to make sure it’s culturally acceptable. In Italy for example drivers use hand gestures a lot when they drive so it needs finalising.

'But we are confident the hand gestures will be available two or three years.'

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