ARS Technica spotted Microsoft has filed a new patent which describes a heads-up display (HUD) for use in automobiles:
The patent app says that the heads-up display (HUD) could be used for a variety of tasks, or "elements," like displaying navigational information, information about a driver's health, speed of the car, and media such as iPods or CDs.
The patent also suggests that controls for a climate control system, communication system, and a general input device could also be integrated into the windshield UI environment. Each of these elements could be displayed in a "hidden state, collapsed state, preview state, and full-view state;" similar to the way windows are displayed on a Vista taskbar.
While it may seem like the display would be a distraction to the driver, the patent's aim is to improve the driver's awareness of his or her surroundings by alerting the driver to information about road conditions or accidents up ahead. It is suggested that this would be a convenience, not a danger, by allowing drivers to prepare for what's ahead without having to look down from the windshield to a dashboard. Further, the heads-up display could give information about the driver such as heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, and could purportedly detect "road rage" or an over-tired driver. There's no word on how the car or HUD would react to such conditions: would it alert the driver to wake up by blaring loud sirens, or play calming jazz tracks as a form of anger management? Maybe queue up Dr. Phil?