New Scientist: Two researchers at Intel Labs are working on a “smart” steering wheel for cars. In their paper presented at a recent conference on automotive user interfaces, Victoria Fang and Lucas Ainsworth discuss the ever-growing number of controls now being placed on car steering wheels. To simplify the driving experience, they propose installing a touchpad, much like those on phones and tablets, on the wheel and a display on the windshield, just off the driver’s line of sight. Such a device could allow drivers to scroll through a menu of actions and check their speed, gas gauge, or GPS with the touch or swipe of a finger. It could also display notifications, such as an accident ahead, perhaps with a subtle sound to indicate the posting of new information. Fang and Ainsworth have developed a prototype consisting of a sheet of touch-sensitive material embedded in one of the steering wheel’s spokes, but they say there is still much R&D to be done before it is ready for the road.