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Electronics & Test

Touchpads Put In-Car Entertainment at Your Fingertips

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Beth Stackpole
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Seems simple enough to use
Beth Stackpole   4/19/2012 6:11:18 AM
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I'd trade voice commands for script commands any day. This technology seems pretty promising in that it seems, on the surface, pretty simplistic in terms of usability. The problem with voice is there is so many openings for the system to misinterpret what you're asking of it that it's almost a joke. This seems much more straight forward, especially if the commands are simple.

naperlou
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Re: Seems simple enough to use
naperlou   4/19/2012 10:20:03 AM
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Beth, I fully agree with you.  I think this is why voice recognition software for PCs has not really taken off.  I am sitting in a Starbucks (the office of choice for many, I notice) and I would not want to have to speak to enter this post.  I notice, by the way, that there are very few people with iPads (or other tablets) here.  Just about everyone has a laptop open. 

Formula 1 drivers intereact with their cars via the steering wheel.  These have become fantastically expensive (primarily becuase of the low volumes).  In fact, they stay with the driver.  A system like this one from TRW in a steering wheel could be an interesting twist on that idea. 

PLMJim
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Re: Seems simple enough to use
PLMJim   4/19/2012 11:38:03 AM
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I think the script idea is a good one, and it's been around for a long time. Back in 1983 I used a CAD system from Applicon that employed user-created symbols that you could define to do whatever commands you chose.

If you could choose what symbol you wanted to create (a Z for the radio, a C for the cruise, N for navigation, etc.), then you could customize your experience, and have hands-free customized access to everything.

That's what we did with the Applicon CAD system, and it was the most productive system in the department.

-Jim

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Seems simple enough to use
Beth Stackpole   4/19/2012 12:52:43 PM
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I think there's a lot of potential in terms of using scripts. Much like the old short hand, you could have a long list of options and cut to the chase with commands pretty quickly. I'm definitely very interested to see where this technology can take us.

Charles Murray
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Re: Seems simple enough to use
Charles Murray   4/19/2012 7:43:21 PM
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I agree with you, Beth. I think it's a better solution than voice recognition. If you have kids in the car, voice recognition would go crazy.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Seems simple enough to use
Beth Stackpole   4/20/2012 7:04:37 AM
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My husband has always had cars that have voice recognition (he trades a car every three years for work) and it's been a constant source of entertainment for the family. He's somewhat of a techie so he'd get everyone all ready to see how accomplished his voice recognition system would be--how the car would automatically dial grandma or find a cool restaurant along the route. The things that came back during the interaction were literally hilarious and never even close to the command he was issuing. I have to say, over the last few years, even though the voice systems have gotten better, those experiences have made him lay off using the capabilities pretty much altogether. Perhaps something like Apple's Siri can change the technology's bad rap.

ChasChas
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Re: Seems simple enough to use
ChasChas   4/20/2012 9:25:47 AM
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Charles, when you trace R for radio or N for naviagation, it seems like you are only part way there - how do you change a station or enter an address with your eyes on the road? What am I missing?

SparkyWatt
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Re: Seems simple enough to use
SparkyWatt   4/20/2012 1:42:10 PM
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I agree, and the reverse interaction would have to be by "voice", since you wouldn't want the driver taking their eyes off the road.

The interaction might go something like this:

User: R

Car (confirming recognition): Radio

User: S

Car: Station

User: R

Car: 93-X

I fear that the users would have to be trained on this method of interaction before it could be installed/enabled in their car.  I think that blindly drawing the letters with your finger would be distracting, until you got good enough at it to do it without thinking.  Don't get me wrong, I don't think it would take very long.  But I think it would definitely be a hazard until the user acheived proficiency.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Seems simple enough to use
Rob Spiegel   4/20/2012 2:00:14 PM
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I agree about script commands being superior to voice commands, Beth. By putting the script command pad on the armrest, I would guess they're trying to reduce driver distraction. Cool idea.

Charles Murray
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Re: Seems simple enough to use
Charles Murray   4/20/2012 6:00:05 PM
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I think TRW is recommending both the touchpad and a voice backup in some cases. But they say the touchpad is more reliable.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Seems simple enough to use
Rob Spiegel   4/23/2012 12:00:15 PM
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Yes,, I can understand how the touchpad would be more in most cases. I find that voice recognition usually has some non-intuitive aspects to it, while most touch-based systems seem logical.

mrdon
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Re: Seems simple enough to use
mrdon   4/30/2012 12:54:44 AM
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Voice Recognition software has come along way since it introduction in the late 80's early 90's. My 12 year old son was able to train the Dragon Speech software on my wife's Window 7 computer in less than 20 minutes. Now he's able to write his school papers by speaking instead of typing. If this software or something similar was used in vechicles as to a touchpad, then texting while driving would be less of a distraction. Also, operating infotainment systems in vehicles become hands-free like the Ford "Sync" technology because of voice recognition instead of interacting with a touchpad. Even with simple scripting commands on a touchpad provides a safety concern while driving because both hands and eyes are not on the road.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Seems simple enough to use
Rob Spiegel   4/30/2012 1:32:20 PM
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I find touchpads easier, but it does require one hand and both eyes. Until we can keep one eye on the touchpad while keeping the other on the road, the touchpad will mean that the driver is looking away from the road. It only takes a couple seconds in inattention to get into trouble.

notarboca
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Re: Seems simple enough to use
notarboca   4/23/2012 12:29:49 PM
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Beth, I would go for voice over script as well.  My concern is that "scripting" may also be somewhat of a driver distraction (not as much as texting, though).

Charles Murray
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Re: Seems simple enough to use
Charles Murray   4/24/2012 8:25:34 PM
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I agree with you, notarboca. Scripting could definitely be a driver distraction. There are two types of distractions -- visual and cognitive. This is not a visual distraction, but it is certainly a cognitive distraction.

terryking
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1 touch can do it all
terryking   4/20/2012 10:13:23 AM
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My Home automation system that is 15+ years old runs everything on one touch switch.

My kids learned it real fast.

S heats the shower water

W tells the current weather conditions

O turns the outdoor lights on and off

etc. etc.

Just use Morse Code....

 

Nancy Golden
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Oh, No...Not Something Else to Distract :(
Nancy Golden   4/24/2012 11:27:12 PM
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Here's a thought...let's focus on DRIVING when we are in the car driving. Why do we feel like we have to constantly be connected or entertained?

This said from just coming in from driving behind a car that was randomly braking in front of us in free flowing traffic. We pull up beside her to go around and guess what she was doing...you already know the answer -

How many fatalities is it going to take to reverse this trend?

Charles Murray
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Re: Oh, No...Not Something Else to Distract :(
Charles Murray   4/25/2012 6:26:25 PM
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Unfortunately, Nancy, I don't think this trend can be turned around. Consider the National Transportation Safety Board's declaration in 2011 that it wanted to outlaw phones and other electronic distractions in the vehicle. The result in the popular media -- radio shows, newspaper columns -- bordered on revolt. People aren't about to give up their phones. I agree with you that it would make drivers better if we forced them to stow their mobile phones in the trunk while driving (so they could use them in emergencies), but it's just not going to happen. That's why automakers are spending millions of dollars developing less distracting ways to use these new technologies. They're resigned to the fact that they aren't going to eliminate the distraction; they can only make it less so.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Oh, No...Not Something Else to Distract :(
Nancy Golden   4/25/2012 7:14:32 PM
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I understand now why my parents always said "it's not like the good old days." Boy, do I feel old. My horse is my alternate means of transportation but that is purely recreational. It's funny though - I ride to get away from everything and while I am grateful I have my cell phone in my pocket in case of an emergency, the last thing I want to do is actually have to use the thing. I'll see riders going along with their wireless headset chatting away on a cell call. If there horse spooks they could land in the dirt - and some horses will spook when they hear a ringtone. I actually spent some time desensitizing my horse to a cell phone ringing. Technology distractions are dangerous even on horseback!

Charles Murray
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Re: Oh, No...Not Something Else to Distract :(
Charles Murray   4/26/2012 8:46:41 PM
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Sounds like we should outlaw mobile phones on horses, Nancy. I should have known this was going to happen.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Oh, No...Not Something Else to Distract :(
Nancy Golden   4/26/2012 8:54:01 PM
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That is a good point about over-regulation, Charles - sounds silly, doesn't it? But if the horse spooks and I fly off, I am hurting myself - not other riders. I could even drink and ride without putting others at risk. Just wish people would use common sense...driving a vehicle at high speeds while distracted by any means could end in tragedy for more than just the driver.

Charles Murray
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Re: Oh, No...Not Something Else to Distract :(
Charles Murray   5/1/2012 8:25:47 PM
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I definitely agree, Nancy. I actually agree with NTSB, too. I would prefer to see a law that says you have to stow your phone while driving. People won't stop that behavior unless there's a more powerful motivation to do so.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Oh, No...Not Something Else to Distract :(
Nancy Golden   5/1/2012 9:08:36 PM
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And that's what I'm afraid of, Charles -

We'll see be seeing MATAD campaigns along with MADD campaigns in the future...

MOTHERS AGAINST TEXTING AND DRIVING

Charles Murray
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Re: Oh, No...Not Something Else to Distract :(
Charles Murray   5/3/2012 7:35:23 PM
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That's probably not even unrealistic, Nancy, given the fact that 3,000 people per year die in the U.S. as a result of driver distraction.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Oh, No...Not Something Else to Distract :(
Nancy Golden   5/3/2012 7:44:30 PM
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That's true, Charles. The big electronic signs on I-90 in Dallas have replaced Don't Drink and Drive with Don't Text and Drive!

Charles Murray
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Re: Oh, No...Not Something Else to Distract :(
Charles Murray   5/23/2012 9:40:26 PM
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Most of the studies I've seen have indicated that texting is as bad or worse than drinking and driving.

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