Touchscreens are sooo 2010s, now it’s all about the touch sensitive windows.
The future is here, and for those that thought it was signified by self-driving cars, electric powertrains, or car vending machines, well, you’re wrong. The real sign of change comes from Honda’s latest patent that has nothing to do with a variable compression ratio engine or even an alternative fuel. Nope, instead, it has to do with windows. According to Auto Guide, the coolest piece of automotive technology to come from the Japanese automaker is a touch-sensitive window that can tint itself on command.
Automakers already know that if they want to do futuristic, they need to tamper with a car’s glass. It’s the area most occupants, even the passengers, are looking at, so most automakers have begun including the heads up display to give the driver a visual treat and saving them the pain of having to look down at the speedometer for relevant information. Before that there was the Mercedes Maybach with its overhead glass that was able to cycle between clear and opaque at the touch of a button. The technology later bled into the Mercedes lineup when the Tri-Star debuted the Magic Sky Control feature in order to eliminate the headache of having a panoramic roof with too much light coming into the cabin. But then Honda blew the competition away.
The latest patent filed by the Japanese automaker allows users to touch the window nearest to them and slide their fingers across the glass to alter the window’s level of tint. Even cooler is the fact that users can choose to tint either a single portion of glass (ideally the point where the sun is) or the entire pane. This simple feature has the ability to change a lot inside the car and even could eliminate the need for sun visors. Honda’s patent states that pinch movements can also be used for inputs. We think that if it was combined with Mazda’s idea for a 3D windshield, the car as we know it could be changed. So far Honda only plans to allow users to adjust the screens when the car is in park but that’s not too bad of a compromise.