The goal of this project was to reduce visual distraction by phones and other in-car electronics. The project was completed with teammates: Matt Ward & Seyi Amole.
Visual distractions caused by phones and other in-car electronics cause 25% of all car accidents in the US.
At the beginning of this project we explored different areas of input and decided that we would exclude vision as something to rely on. This forced us to look into options that went beyond an visual interface.
Transforming 2d into 3d
Early testing involved replicating real GPS date with beads and tape. This allowed us to test a wide variety of directions very quickly.
Through testing we learned that users need two rows of beads to prevent their fingering from wondering off the path and misinterpreting the direction. We also learned that any directions more complicated that a left or right turn (between 90 and 45 degrees) was too difficult to interpret.
After we understood the capabilities of this method of communication we began to work through real GPS directions to local areas and test the validity of the concept.
Movement and Form
An important aspect of the project that we uncovered through testing was fine tuning how the surface moved and felt. The surface needed to respond quickly to directions that appeared, but also had to be smooth enough that it wouldn't wear down your hand from using it.
Results & Reflection
The project itself was a success in reducing visual distraction, but to be feasible in actual use would have to be paired with voice navigation. The morphing surface would be used as a reminder for the next direction, which we found was often easy to forget with voice navigation alone.