Avid fans of the Star Trek franchise would be familiar with the holodeck – a room which simulates realistic 3D environments that the crew of the Starship Enterprise can interact with. We also see a similar concept in the Iron Man franchise, in Tony Stark’s lab, the user is able to manipulate 3D projections like how we currently interact with touchscreens of a phone.
The above science fiction concepts are about to become reality. By building on its gesture control system, BMW will be showcasing its next-generation HoloActive Touch system at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas taking place on 5-8 January.
Similar to its heads-up display system, HoloActive Touch makes use of reflections to generate free-floating images at the centre console area of the vehicle next to the steering wheel, roughly where most central touchscreens are located these days anyway.
A camera monitors the zone for hand movements and pays particular attention to the position of the fingertips. Once a fingertip contacts the generated image, a pulse is emitted and the relevant function is activated.
BMW have used each of the last two editions of CES to showcase its latest advancements in interface development. The gesture control system that we first saw in the G12 7 Series and also fitted in the new G30 5 Series was first shown in CES 2015.
The technology was further expanded upon in CES 2016 with AirTouch that allows the driver to interact with a screen by remote gestures. The pending introduction of HoloActive Touch in CES 2017 therefore becomes a next logical progression – perhaps we can expect to see this technology commercial ready before the end of the decade?