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BMW's HoloActive Touch Will Give Your Grandma a Heart Attack

Ever since the invention and proliferation of the touchscreen, there hasn't really been any significant progress in the way we interact with our gadgets, be they portable or integrated into the dashboard of a car.
BMW HoloActive Touch 1 photo
Photo: BMW
Sure, BMW and other manufacturers have started using gesture controls, but at the moment, that's just the kind of gimmick that sounds good in a press release, but very few people actually install on their cars, let alone use it.

Its relevance might be found somewhere else, though, as BMW took everything it learned from this control technique and fused it with another area of expertise it's quite good at, which is that of the head-up displays.

Frankly, the Bavarians must have worked with an illusionist as well, because even though we stick to what we said earlier about poor grandma, we're not afraid to admit that we're quite puzzled about how it works juts as well.

BMW describes it as a "virtual touchscreen" and says that thanks to a clever use of mirrors, the image will appear free-floating inside the car, instead of projected on the windshield. The image is visible to the driver next to the steering wheel and can display all sorts of commands, including those related to the BMW Connected services.

A camera is used to track the position of the driver's fingertips, and if the system detects the intention of "pushing" one of the buttons, the required action is taken in the backstages, but not before a pulse is emitted, offering a haptic feedback as well. Just don't ask us how.

If you're thinking Minority Report right now, you're not the only one. There are still a few questions that need to be answered - such as "how is this even possible?" - but fortunately, we won't have to wait too long to see it in action. BMW will have the HoloActive Touch on display at CES 2017 in January, so if you love your granny, make sure she stays away from that show. Or at least the BMW booth.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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