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Vibrating auto seat alerts driver when cars get too close

Joseph L. Flatley
July 18, 2010
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Every time we turn around, auto manufacturers are developing loads of new displays and sensors. At what point does the driver hit sensory overload? That's the question that prompted John Morrell, an Associate Professor at Yale School of Engineering, to position twenty vibrating cellphone motors in a rectangular array inside the driver's seat. Several different warnings were devised, including positional warnings (someone approaching closely behind will set off the center of the array, while a car approaching from the left or right will set off the motors on your left or right, respectively). Preliminary tests were done on a simulator based on The Open Racing Car Simulator (TORCS) platform, and so far things look promising. "[T]he vibrotactile feedback improved drivers' performance over that attained by using the rearview mirror alone," according to Gizmag, "and also helped warn of vehicles hidden by the mirror blind spot." Now, if this could do double duty as a massage chair? Then we'd be onto something.

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