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

nachricht New Technologies for A/V Analysis and Search
13.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>