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Are We There Yet? How The WOO Project Could Banish That Question from the Family Road Trip

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A road trip with your family is often marked by those four words parents cringe to hear—”Are we there yet?”

So, imagine driving down the road with no interruptions, no complaints of boredom, no requests for milkshakes or hamburgers, and no questions about whether or not you are actually there yet. Wouldn’t that be heaven?

Heaven may be closer than it seems.

Earlier this year, the General Motors Research and Development team challenged researchers and students from the FUTURE LAB at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Israel to help back seat passengers (especially kids) have a better experience on road trips. The Windows of Opportunity (WOO) Project was inspired by numerous psychological studies that found that boredom in the car was very closely related to the fact that passengers feel disconnected from their environment.

In the WOO Project, the researchers were asked to turn car windows into interactive displays, with thoughts of turning the windows into “smart glass.” The coolest thing about this project is that the researchers were given free reign to create anything they could imagine, unencumbered by the limitations of whether or not the idea could be mass produced or whether the idea was even possible or not. This lack of limitations is the greatest gift any creative person can receive and the researchers did not disappoint.

Here are some of the ideas they came up with:

Otto

Otto is an animated character that is projected over passing scenery. He responds to vehicle speed, weather, and the landscape. Kids can learn about their environment in fun and playful ways.

Foofu

You know when you blow on a window, it steams up and then you can draw a smiley face or heart? The Foofu app allows you to draw on colored window condensation using your fingers.

Spindow

With Spindow, you can select any location you want on an interactive globe. When you do, you will be able to see the view from other users’ windows who are currently driving in that location. It is literally a window to the world—in real time.

Pond

With Pond, users can stream and share music with other cars on the road. You can also download tracks and shares messages with them, too.

Check out this video from General Motors to learn more:

Add a Comment (1) Comments
  • Visitor, February 22, 2012, 11:37

    Before hand held devices and portable DVD players, I used to pack activity books and small toys for my kids on long car trips. Generally, they preferred to look out the windows. I guess my kids have more imagination than my brother and I did at their age.

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