The Company: HRI is the research branch of Honda Motor Company that focuses on deep future research. It’s staffed by research scientists who focus on things like computer vision, pedestrian detection, augmented reality, radar technologies for self-driving cars and so on.
The Brief: Using an augmented reality 3D heads up display, how might we make the roads safer for drivers and pedestrians, as well as improve the driving experience?
Our 3D augmented reality windshield was a novel technology that allowed drivers to see 3D digital images at depth in the road
This AR windshield is actually not a windshield but a projection system that puts light into a box in space where the drivers head is. The windshield is completely normal.
I was brought in to help conceptualize and visualize useful and interesting concepts using this technology specifically.
Honda was especially interested in safety as a topic of concept development.
My Role: Stage user research sessions to discover user needs, conduct brainstorming and synthesis sessions with the team at Honda, and design and spec 3D augmented reality applications for drivers.
Our Results: Won A' Design Award for concept category, for our submission Projected Path. Awarded over a dozen patents and still growing. Proved efficacy of 3D HUD specifically through human-centered design.
Design Process Story: At HRI, our focus was on designing human-centered applications for the 3D heads-up display. Through the unique volumetric projection system, drivers can see images projected into the road, so that they appear to be at the correct focal distance, creating truly immersive visuals. Using this 3D feature, we designed many concepts for human-centered application with a focus on driver safety. Here is one of the designs that won an A' Design Award, an international design competition. It is called Projected Path.
I also wrote a small book at Honda Research Institute about our design process. It covered the work we did there, including theoretical explanations behind why we took the approaches we did. It now serves as a human-centered design guide at HRI for future work in the augmented reality space.
Another one of our major concepts was the Safety Grid. This concept came about through interviews with drivers we deemed "expert" through a series of qualifying tests such as amount of extracurricular driver education, courses, and recreational driving such as race-track driving activity these people have done. This expert driver basically conferred to us his mental model of maintaining a safe sense of general awareness at all times. He would keep track of all the cars around him mentally, forming a sort of 360 degree memory at all times. This concept could also easily be called Awareness Grid, since it focuses on awareness of cars all around you. Furthermore the system rewards drivers for clearing the spaces around him or her, thereby having clearance in the four primary quadrants should they need to swerve for an emergency.