Garmin’s multi-sensor controller concept for infotainment systems helps reduce driver distraction


Garmin Multi-Sensor Controller Concept_Close-up

With the increasing use of technology and smartphones behind the wheel, driver distraction has become a concern. But technology in general is not the problem. The most important question is how it is being used and integrated into the car so that it doesn’t distract drivers. Garmin’s new multi-controller concept provides a new and unique way of controlling essential functions of an in-car infotainment system, such as audio, apps, communications and navigation. It is a concept development from Garmin’s automotive OEM group, providing further research for enhanced reduction in driver distraction.

Garmin Infotainment Multi-Controller Concept Audio Low Res

Garmin’s concept positions the screen higher up on the dash inthe driver’s eyesight and combines it
with a rotary infrared controller in convenient reach, a touch pad, and menu mode buttons. The infrared sensors of the rotary controller automatically detect an approaching hand and the system reacts by displaying menu options even before it is touched. Because the system “knows” when a user is reaching for the controller, menu buttons on the screen are hidden when not needed. At all times important information, such as driving directions and the name of a song or radio station is kept at the top of the screen so the driver always has a single reference point. Four buttons with infrared sensors on the rotary controller allow switching between different menus, such as audio, apps, communications and navigation.

In addition to the rotary controller, radio preset buttons with infrared sensors are positioned below the screen to allow a driver to feel for the right button without having to press it – when their finger is close to a preset button, a highlighted preset image appears on the display, allowing the driver to select a station.

Tied into this system can be HVAC controls, vehicle bus information, connected services and apps from a smartphone. Existing technology like text-to-speech, voice command, Bluetooth hands-free calling and traffic services also helps alleviate driver distraction to avoid potentially dangerous situations.

Garmin’s automotive OEM group utilizes the company’s long-standing experience in interface and hardware design from its automotive, avionics and marine segments to develop innovative in-car navigation, telematics and infotainment systems. Garmin already provides integrated cockpits to the aviation industry and is dedicated to bring a similar level of technology, integration, safety, reliability, and efficiency to the automotive market. Garmin recently announced its first fully integrated infotainment system for most 2013 Suzuki vehicles.



Introducing the SketchUp Showcase


It’s our sincere pleasure to unveil The SketchUp Showcase, a home for the most impressive, interesting, and inspiring project stories that have been shared with us.

Why a new showcase? Often, when you find an amazing model in the 3D Warehouse, it doesn’t tell the full story behind a project. You can download it and see how it was built. But you probably wouldn’t get a sense of why it was built. Where did the inspiration come from? What were the design challenges the modeler faced? What happened after the model was finished? The story just isn’t complete.

The Showcase is a space where the stories, images, renders, animations, and 3D models of passionate SketchUppers can shine a bit brighter.



What was the inspiration behind this 3D model? | Image courtesy of Roberto Bergamo 


But that’s not all – the Showcase is also a first look at a new element of SketchUp technology: an online 3D model viewer. This 3D viewer lets you orbit, zoom, and pan 3D models right in your browser! To see it in action, find a project marked with a red flag or simply click here. Please note: you’ll need to use the latest version of Google Chrome to take advantage of the WebGL goodness that makes this viewer possible.

Go ahead and start exploring now; content is organized by category filters, so you can easily find projects based on your interests.

A project page featuring the new online 3D viewer | The Catalyst Playground in VietnamFinally, our team would like to dedicate the SketchUp Showcase to all the passionate SketchUppers who’ve supported us for over a decade. As we enter a new chapter with Trimble, we hope the Showcase and the online viewer are proof that SketchUp is only getting better. It’s clichéd to say we wouldn’t be much of anywhere without you, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Thank you for all of the love (sometimes tough) you’ve sent our way. Your passion for SketchUp is still what gets us out of bed in the morning.

Now playing: Faster movie search on Android and iPhone

With the December movie season in full swing, we’ve just made it even faster and easier to discover movies, showtimes and theaters, all from your smartphone. Now when you search for [movies] or your favorite theater like [century san francisco] on from your phone, you’ll see interactive results for movies in a new swipeable ribbon, with the most relevant information displayed at the top of the page.

For each movie, you’ll see the movie poster, a short summary, ratings and the nearest theaters and showtimes. Designed to help you quickly browse what’s playing in theaters now, this information instantly updates as you slide through the movie posters — no need to wait for a page to load or to use the back button.

To learn more about a movie, tap the movie title to find details like the cast and a full summary. And if you see a play button on the movie poster, you can tap to view the official trailer. You can even buy tickets directly from your smartphone by tapping on underlined showtimes — and skip past those long holiday box office lines!

So the next time you head out to see sagas of vampires, the world’s biggest Muppets fan, dancing penguins or nearly impossible heists, try the new interactive results for movies by visiting on your iOS or Android phone’s browser and searching for [movies], [theaters] or a movie title. This feature is available in English, in the US.

(Cross-posted on the Inside Search blog)