Today's driving laws are awash with restrictions designed to help cut down on distracted driving -- no texting, no TV, no phone calls and no fun. The good 'ol car stereo has managed to stay off the ban list, but rest easy, cautious driver, if it were to be outlawed, the folks at Cirque could build one that wouldn't respond to the driver's commands. The outfit's latest sensor tech can distinguish the user's right hand from their left, making it possible for future vehicle controls to ignore input from the driver. Cirque says the "proximity sensing with grip detection" technology will allow devices to react contextually to how they are used, creating more customized interactions for future automobiles, medical terminals and other consoles. Fine by us, as long as they don't ban our beats. Peep the video up top for a quick demo, or read on for the outfit's official press release.
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Cirque releases proximity sensing technology that discerns user grip and right / left hand

Cirque's latest sensor is able to distinguish between left and right hand(s) of one or more users.

Salt Lake City, Utah - February 23, 2012 – Cirque, the creator of the capacitive trackpad, has added Proximity Sensing with Grip Detection to its portfolio of sensor technologies. This technology allows a physical control to discern whether it is being approached by a user's left or right hand and whether or not the user is gripping the control.

The ability to discern between a right and left hand allows electronics to become smarter and safer. This technology can be used to differentiate the hands of driver and passenger (pilot and co-pilot) or the right and left hand of a single user at a smart terminal. Automobiles with this technology will be able to deactivate functions that might be too distracting for a driver.

Grip Detection enables controls to be configured to behave differently before and after the user first touches the control. Upon sensing touch input, these smart-controls will be able to change menus, displays, or any other configurable attribute.

"Proximity Sensing and Grip Detection allows consoles to provide more customized interaction for users," says Doug Moore, Vice President of Input Solutions. "This technology is going to make automobiles, kiosks, medical terminals and a host of other consoles easier to design and use."

A video demonstration of the Proximity Sensing with Grip Detection technology can be found on Cirque's YouTube channel, or at the URL: http://youtu.be/MvDOsAttOWY.

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Cirque's proximity and grip sensor knows your left from your right, won't let you turn up your car stereo