Driving Directions Projected Onto the Windshield

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Finally, it looks like we don’t need to buy crazy expensive cars to get technology showing turn-by-turn directions right on the windshield. A new device and app turn a smartphone into a heads-up display.

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The technology company Garmin recently developed a heads-up display device for about $130 that works with a mobile app and Bluetooth-enabled smartphone to project navigation info onto your windshield. According to the company, the projection can either go onto a transparent windshield film or an attached reflector lens. The display can show the distance to the next turn, speed info, traffic alerts and an estimated time of arrival.

This HUD automatically adjusts the projection’s brightness level so it appears clearly no matter what the time of day or night. That’s probably going to be much safer than relying on a propped-up smartphone or GPS device nestled in the car. As AllThingsD’s Bonnie Cha pointed out, this heads-up display approach could be a new direction for companies that currently make those standalone GPS devices.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m terrible with driving directions. Driving somewhere new, especially on the highway, prompts a special kind of anxiety. Currently I rely on the “lady” in my smartphone who tells me where to go, but she only speaks right before a new direction so I’ve had to sneak furtive glances at the phone screen to check my progress. Not fun.

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Sure, I could mount the phone to the windshield with a suction cup device but I’ve seen those fall right off randomly. A heads-up display that doesn’t require a new car purchase could help me keep my eyes on the road while I clench the wheel. If only the system could also detect stress levels and project some helpful reminders. Like “please remember to breathe.”

Credit: Garmin