Think of it as a smartwatch, but for people who need to keep their eyes on the road. HeadsUP, one of 10 semi-finalists for Engadget's Insert Coin competition, is a heads-up display for your car, allowing you to see notifications on your dashboard. Unlike other HUDs, though, the screen is powered by an Android device, allowing you to bring these kinds of notifications to a car that doesn't already have a fancy display built in. Once you download the app, you can customize which apps show notifications on your windshield. So, there's a good deal of opportunity for customization, but the company's founders hope to make it so that you can't open apps that will distract you while driving. So, you're looking at Facebook and Twitter notifications, for instance, but not the actual apps; email notifications, but without the ability to read the whole message. Other approved apps include Google Maps (naturally), a dialer, Google voice dictation and the ability to see who's calling.
Ultimately, the hardware will look quite different than what we're showing in the photos below, so bear with us and use your imaginations a bit. Though the screen you see up there is transparent (at least somewhat), the final version will be more truly see-through, and will stand up even better against harsh lighting. In fact, Arnab Raychaudhuri, the company's founder, says he expects to use the sort of transparent OLED display that Samsung has already been showing off for several years now (check out the link there for an idea of what you an expect). As for battery life, the display plugs into your car's cigarette lighter, so you won't have to worry about it going dead.
Also, while the hardware on display here at Expand NY measured a good 12 inches, the final version will be smaller, and it will sit in the corner of your dashboard near the windshield, not underneath the rearview mirror. Given that this is just a crowdfunded project for now (all of our Insert Coin contestants are), there's no guarantee it will ever ship; Raychaudhuri and Co. still need to generate more money to invest in those all-important transparent screens. Assuming he can pull it off, though, he expects to ship the product in June 2014 for $300.