RMIT University researchers are collaborating with automotive giant Audi on new concepts for the in-car entertainment of the future and the role of game thinking in personal mobility.
Researchers from RMIT's Games & Experimental Entertainment Laboratory (GEELab) have developed a conceptual rear seat system to entertain and inform passengers using holographic 3D projection, gestural interaction and location-awareness.
Audi is sponsoring the research conducted by GEElab director Dr Steffen P Walz and GEElab staff member Daniel Wahl, an architect and designer based in Germany.
The research was presented at the Audi Urban Future Summit, during the 64th International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany.
Dr Walz said the conceptual designs were presented at the summit's "Energies of Data" workshop.
"By using gestural interaction, 3D holographic display technology and transparent windows as interfaces, the system enables, for example, young passengers to learn about their city in a playful fashion, while being connected to both the vehicle, their parents driving with them and the locations they pass by," he said.
"We're planning a prototype in coming months, which could appear in cars within the next five years."
In one of the examples of the system under development, young passengers can use gestures rather than hand-held devices to control the action of three-dimensional images projected onto the back seat.
The technology can be used to share information with children and parents in the vehicle about their surroundings - such as local landmarks, bus stations, zoos - and can also act as a virtual office by enabling passengers to use the system as an interactive computer.
The Audi Urban Future Summit is part of the Audi Urban Future Initiative, which invites a network of architects, urbanists, and interaction and game designers to investigate how urban space and individual mobility can be shaped in a sustainable way in the future.
The "Energies of Data" workshop tackled the question of how data spaces, automatic driving and social networks could change the urban space and individual mobility, and the role of gamification in these developments.
Dr Walz and Mr Wahl presented their research alongside speakers including MIT Professor and advanced sensor technology expert Carlo Ratti, Head of Audi Design Stefan Sielaff, and Head of Electrical and Electronic Development, AUDI AG, Ricky Hudi.
Audi is supporting a PhD researcher with the GEELab, who is continuing work on the project.
RMIT's GEElab is an international research facility focused on developing products and technology for the gaming, entertainment and media industries, with offices in Melbourne and Stuttgart, Germany.