When I think of the MINI, I think of a little car that looks like fun to drive. But I don’t immediately think of cutting edge technology. BMW is set to change that impression. The company has developed MINI Augmented Vision, which provides the driver with useful information without having to look down at the dashboard.
Some car manufacturers have tackled this problem by projecting information onto the inside of the windshield, or on a small heads-up display mounted above the dashboard. Instead, BMW worked with Qualcomm engineers to design head-mounted displays contained in some pretty hip looking sunglasses. (They definitely lag the Geek Chic of Google Glass.) The displays communicate wirelessly with the car to show navigation information and basic car data such as speed. They do more than this, however. When parking, look where your front tire is and you get the functional equivalent of X-ray vision; a camera mounted on the outside mirror will relay an image to the goggles so that you can see just how close you are to the curb.
The system has other useful functions, including notifications when you receive a text message. The car’s text-to-speech feature will read the text to you while you drive if you want. And the glasses can even help you find your car again in a crowded mall parking lot.
It’s easy to imagine how this system could also use data from wearable Health Tech devices. It could monitor your biometric data to warn you if you’re at risk of nodding off while driving, or if you’re otherwise impaired and could put yourself and others in jeopardy.