Reinventing the wheel is no easy feat but when it comes to steering wheels some tech wizards from Finland beg to differ.
Meet the Origo Steering Wheel concept, a revolutionary project developed by a Finnish automotive consortium that includes companies like Canatu, Siili Auto, TactoTek, Rightware and Northern Works.
Developed as part of the Multimodal In-Vehicle Interaction and Intelligent Information Presentation (MIVI) project, the Origo Steering Wheel has just won the German Design Award 2021 for “outstanding design quality”.
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The project was chosen as a Winner in the category of “Excellent Product Design – Human-Machine Interface”. German Design Awards is one of the world’s most respected design competitions, with the international jury recognizing only projects that truly represent pioneering contributions to the German and international design landscape.
So what does the Origo Steering Wheel concept bring new to the table? First and foremost, it’s designed to minimize driver distraction and make the interaction more intuitive. The steering wheel concept features transparent three-dimensional touch surfaces which allow the driver to keep their hands on the wheel at all times while being able to access all the vehicle’s functions.
“With the new Origo Steering Wheel, the driver can manage all key functions purely by thumbs without letting go of the steering wheel, minimizing distractions, and improving safety,” said Juha Kokkonen, CEO, Canatu Oy. “By adapting the strengths of mobile device interaction patterns to driver controls, this team of Finnish companies has developed a solution that delivers convenience, style, and safety.”
The Origo Steering Wheel also comes paired with a wide screen which displays only relevant information at any time to avoid overstimulation. “Our lives have become cluttered with information and overstimulated with choices, so we wanted to offer the driver clarity with our steering wheel concept and reduce functions and controls to just the bare necessities,” added Miika Heikkinen, Lead Designer, Northern Works.
The challenge with this project was to make it look familiar, which always helps consumers overcome the fear of new whenever a revolutionary product is introduced. The team wanted physical forms to be expressive, supporting the use of controls, something that the current touch screens and capacitive controls quite often lack.
According to the Finnish tech consortium, “the final Origo design perfectly aligns physical controls with the digital UI, creating an intuitive and exciting user experience unlike anything seen on cars before.” Before you give your verdict in the comments section, make sure you watch the video which illustrates how the Origo Steering Wheel is meant to be used.