INUMFLIS Car Concept by Calin Giubega – The automobile is a closed environment and throughout the history, constant efforts were made to increase comfort and speed. Outside our natural context, inside the automobile we have to rely mostly on our vision sense and with the increasing speeds, we reached and even exceeded its limits. Thus in some cases we are not able to correctly perceive and relate distance and speeds of other objects, having possible dramatic consequences.
Safety behind the steering wheel depends on our behavior, having many elements inside of a car which can be distracting, but it also depends on weather conditions, where fog, heavy rain or even a very bright day can significantly reduce visibility. As the automobile augments the human body when traveling, Inumflis augments the sense of touch, offering the user the new ability of perceiving intangible distant objects, their speed and position, through the sense of touch, complementing the sense of sight. Thereby, Inumflis wants to reduce cognitive load by distributing information to the two senses giving a more accurate perception of a moving object. The goal is to create a discrete but effective communication, on a time scale large enough to prevent warnings and automatic behaviors of cars in the first place, encouraging drivers towards a safer driving behavior by creating awareness and not by imposing limitations.
Inumflis uses pulse as being a mental model we all have even before we were born, a notion that is continuously perceived throughout our lives. By using pulse, Inumflis wants to establish emotional bonds with the vehicle, creating awareness of the environment to the driver and also a more natural, precise and easy to perceive communication system. Current detection technologies, some already in production and some in development, although different from a technological point of view, use more or less the same communication methods. Communication is made through the sense of vision, being either with an LED, display and more recently HUD`s. Although communication is achieved, efficiency is arguable. As an example, communication for mid-range detection of blind spot objects is made through an LED integrated in the mirror, relying on the driver to check the mirror. But what happens if he/she doesn`t? Furthermore, considering displays, a constant add of visual elements will only accelerate the reach of vision sense limits with an increase in cognitive load.
Inumflis is design to work with existing detection technologies, systems that are using Global Positioning System, Radar and Ultrasounds to detect vehicles all around. Thus, the pump and inner layer with patterned air cushions in the steering wheel will receive information from the sensors which will cause the small air cushions to inflate. The patterned layer is divided in two main areas which in turn are divided in other two regions, representing left and right sides. The main area that is corresponding with the fingers (highlighted in blue) is placed in the back of the steering wheel and communicates objects/vehicles in front of the installed car, while the main area (highlighted in red) that corresponds with the palm and thumbs is placed on the front region, communicating objects in the back of the vehicle. The other two regions of the main areas are representing the left and right sides.
Communication to the user is achieved by inflating the air cushions in a certain rhythm and intensity, corresponding with the speed and distance of an approaching vehicle. Thus as a distant object is detected, the pulse will start with a low rate and intensity, both increasing gradually as the object is approaching. The picture represents an approaching vehicle from opposite direction while having another in front traveling in the same direction with the increasing pulse in the left side of the steering wheel, corresponding with the long fingers. Approaching too fast a vehicle that travels in the same direction will result in a increasing pulse that corresponds with the long fingers for both left and right sides. When another vehicle is approaching you with a high speed, the area corresponding to the palms and thumbs will pulse for both left and right sides if the two vehicles are aligned and as the car is overtaking, only the corresponding (left) side will increase in pulse rate and intensity, communicating not only the distance and speed, but also the position.