Updated 07/12/2012 12:01 PM
New Mobile Tech Ideas Rely On Human Touch
Some wild prototypes that could someday be features in your mobile phone - from special steering wheels to unlocking a door with the bones in your hand - were recently shown to NY1 at the AT&T Labs. NY1's Adam Balkin filed the following report.
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A prototype steering wheel that has GPS built in, literally on top of that though, in order to help keep your eyes on the road and off a tradition GPS screen, also vibrates in certain patterns to tell you when to turn. It was just one of several innovations NY1 was given a very early look at being worked on at the AT&T Labs. It's called a Haptics Enhanced Steering Wheel.
"The vibrators are vibrating in sequence either in a clockwise or counter clockwise pattern and you're feeling that under your hands on the steering wheel and it gives you an idea then when you should be turning the steering wheel in the indicated direction," said Hal Purdy of AT&T Labs.
Another innovation most of us would likely shell out decent money for ASAP is called Got My Stuff. It's a system that will tell you as soon as you sit down behind the wheel what you accidentally forgot to bring.
"You tag all your items up with these RFID tags and then when you get in your car you turn your car on, the system scans all the stuff you have to tell you all the things you have or better yet what you don't have it says, 'Donnie, you're missing your wallet,'" explained Donnie Henderson of AT&T Labs.
Finally, how about unlocking your door using just the phone in your pocket and the bones in your hand?
"Using these piezo transducers, they're essentially guitar pickups," said Brian Amento of AT&T Labs. "We can now produce and sense vibrations so the initial proof of concept was sending a digital key so I have my cell phone set to send a unique digital key through vibrations through my body so if I'm touching this microphone here when I touch the door it recognizes 'Ok it's Brian' and it unlocks the door."
Even wilder, developers say the same technology could also be used to swap contact information with someone by simply shaking their hand.
AT&T says while it's showing off the projects with the greatest commercial potential, there's no timetable set for when we might actually get to use some of these everyday ourselves.