Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

"Talking windscreens" could help prevent accidents

09.05.2003


The driving simulator at Leeds University. Credit: University of Leeds


Drivers are four times more likely to have an accident if they use a mobile phone on the road. However, using a "talking windscreen" rather than a traditional mobile phone while driving could reduce this risk, and so help to prevent accidents, according to Oxford University research just published in Psychological Science.

A growing body of evidence shows that using a hands-free phone is as problematic for drivers as using a hand-held phone. It is probably the distraction of a driver´s attention, rather than problems with physically handling a phone, that contributes to the increased accident risk. Indeed, "inattention" has often been cited as one of the leading causes of accidents in numerous major studies of traffic accidents. Therefore anything that can improve a driver’’s concentration while using a mobile phone should help to reduce the risk of accident.

Dr Charles Spence of Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology and Dr Liliana Read from the Department of Transport in London found that the physical location from which a person’’s voice is heard influences a driver?s concentration. In particular, participants in their experiments found it easier to divide their attention between eye and ear if the relevant sources of information came from the same direction.



In their studies, participants were required to drive a car in the advanced driving simulator at Leeds University. A three-dimensional graphic scene of the outside world was presented on a screen in front of the windshield in real-time. Participants were asked to perform a listening and speaking task whilst simultaneously driving around suburban and inner city roads. Two loudspeakers, one placed directly in front of them and one on the side, alternately played words that participants were asked to repeat, a task known as ’’shadowing’’. People found it much easier to combine the driving and shadowing tasks if the voice they were listening to came from the loudspeaker placed directly in front of them, rather than from the side (as when drivers hold a mobile phone to their ear).

These results show that people find it much easier to look and listen in the same direction than in different directions. This is presumably because humans have evolved to deal with sights and sounds that usually originate from the same place (as when, for example, we see, hear, and feel a mosquito landing on our arm).

Dr Spence said: ’’These results highlight an important factor limiting a driver?s ability to do more than one thing at once. However, there are some measures that car designers could introduce to increase safety, such as flat-screen loudspeakers placed by the windscreen in front of the driver. Moreover, by adopting a more ecological approach to interface design in the future, it may be possible to develop multisensory warning signals that can more effectively stimulate a driver’’s senses, and so reduce the risk of accidents while driving.

’’The safest way of avoiding accidents, however, is not to use a mobile phone at all while driving.’’

Barbara Hott | alfa

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht High Number of Science Enthusiasts in Switzerland
05.02.2018 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Between filter bubbles, uneven visibility and transnationality
06.12.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index started off well in 2018

22.02.2018 | Business and Finance

FAU researchers demonstrate that an oxygen sensor in the body reduces inflammation

22.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Histology in 3D: new staining method enables Nano-CT imaging of tissue samples

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>