This summer, I have driven my family almost 3500 miles during two separate vacations. During all those hours of driving, my kids have entertained themselves watching movies, playing handheld games, listening to MP3 players, and reading books. Vacation travel has changed a lot since I was a kid and if Toyota’s “Window to the World” concept ever makes it to your driveway, travel will change a lot more.
The new system from the Japanese automobile manufacturer’s European Research division was developed with the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design and turns windows into interactive screens designed for education and play. As shown in the video, with “Window to the World,” backseat passengers will be able to draw objects that will then integrate with the outside world, estimate distance to outside objects, zoom in on objects, translate written language on signs, and learn more about outside objects by selecting them. Toyota also says the technology can be applied to sunroofs and, at night, constellations and their information can be studied with the night sky as the backdrop.
When kids are bored on the drive, parents can once again tell children “Look out the window for a while.” Seems like travel has come full circle to my childhood.