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Steering Wheel Cover Input Device Disclosure Number: IPCOM000004737D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Apr-24
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2001-Apr-24
Document File: 2 page(s) / 45K

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Gary Goodman: AUTHOR


Steering Wheel Cover Input Device

This text was extracted from a WORD97 document.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 100% of the total text.

Steering Wheel Cover Input Device

Gary Goodman

The Problem

It is dangerous to try to input numbers and /or messages on the small keypad of a wireless messaging device while driving. We have all seen the weaving driver and known that this was probably the result of trying to dial a cell phone. There has been talk of laws that prohibit driving and talking on a cell phone. Voice recognition has come a long way toward helping the problem and is probably the ultimate solution. Voice recognition, however, is still not good enough for entering general text messages. What is needed is a method for entering text and data that does not require diverting attention from the driving task.

The Solution

The method of solution consists of a set of touch/pressure sensitive pads built into a steering wheel cover in combination with a messaging device.

Pressing on one pad or a pair of pads simultaneously results in the input of a command or character. The assignment of the pad pairs would normally be made in a context dependent manner. Using pad pairs is preferable to using single pads in order to prevent "falsing" while performing ordinary driving maneuvers such as turning. Another method to prevent erroneous entry would be to utilize audio feedback with confirmation.

Such a device could be added to a vehicle that has no built-in messaging system. Alternatively, the messaging device may be in contact with a vehicle personal area network (PAN) or messaging system using Bluetooth. The advantage of a wheel cover is that this device can be easily added to any car, even if it has no built-in communication system. This also allows new technology to be easily incorporated.

Variations on the messaging wheel cover include:

Stand-alone use.

Use in conjunction with existing automobile LAN/PAN or messaging system.

Context-sensitive pad pair assignment.

Auditory feedback of input and confirmation mechanism.