Head-up displays are becoming more common in high-end cars, but stand-alone units remain beyond the financial reach of many drivers. The crowdfunded Hudway Glass is a basic device that will take full advantage of your smartphone to give you a flexible HUD on a very modest budget.
When it comes to safe driving, HUD technology must walk a fine line to be useful rather than harmful. Drivers often avert their eyes to check their phones or look at the speedometer, so projecting that information on the windshield can prevent dangerous distractions. On the other hand, studies have suggested that displaying too much data on a HUD can reduce driver safety.
The simplicity of the Hudway Glass (particularly when compared to some of its feature-rich alternatives) could help it keep on the right side of that safety line. This device is a simple smartphone cradle that sticks on top of your dashboard while a transparent plastic lens reflects and optically enhances key pieces of data displayed by your phone.
Users can pick from a number of apps that use their phone's GPS and accelerometer to provide data like driving speed, location, and turn-by-turn directions. In keeping with the safety theme, Hudway's own app for Android and iOS doesn't visually overwhelm users, but instead focuses on displaying only a few bits of data at a time, making them large, easily readable, and (hopefully) not too distracting.
The "glass" at the core of the device is a sturdy and lightweight plastic lens shaped to enlarge a smartphone's image by 20 percent, while minimizing aberrations that would distort the view of the road. A coating on the lens also cancels the double image effect you would experience if you were to simply stick your phone on top of the dashboard and let the windshield take care of the reflection.
As the device is not powered, there are some limits to the brightness, contrast and general quality of the reflected image. In particular, the creators warn that some small details might become illegible when drivers are directly facing the sun, which is yet another reason to stick to apps that don't overload the screen with information.
The Hudway Glass will come with two mounts – a compact one that should fit most cars, and a tiltable one that lets users better adjust the angle at which the phone is held. Both stick to the dashboard using industrial strength adhesive, hold the phone in place using magnets, and support smartphones as large as the iPhone 6.
Less than two weeks into its Kickstarter campaign, the Glass has already doubled its crowdfunding goal of US$100,000. Interested parties can pledge $49 plus shipping for the device and, if everything goes to plan, Hudway expects to start shipping the budget-yet-futuristic HUD by March next year.
You can see the Glass in action below.
Source: Hudway Glass
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