Turn your smartphone into an in-car heads up display with HeadsUP!

The HeadsUP! The device projects apps onto a car windshield and responds to touchless gestures and voice commands. ©NeXt/Indiegogo

The HeadsUP!
The device projects apps onto a car windshield and responds to touchless gestures and voice commands.

A crowdfunding campaign is looking to bring top-of-line in-car technology to all smartphone-owning drivers.


If you’re a long-term BMW or Mercedes customer then the heads up display (HUD) is already something more than likely taken for granted, just like electrically operated seats and radar-guided active cruise control.


But for the overwhelming majority of drivers, getting notifications and directions projected onto the windshield within the line of vision still seems like something out of a sci-fi film.


And, as the smartphone becomes more and more ubiquitous and its array of apps becomes more and more useful to drivers, the risk of distraction is also growing.


No one should text, update social media or read the headlines while driving, and likewise, as useful as Google Maps is, a smartphone screen displays route directions, not what is actually on the road directly in front of your car. Therefore looking at the screen means you’re not looking where you’re going.


NeXt wants to address all of those issues and has launched a $50,0000 Indiegogo campaign to make its gadget, the HeadsUP! A reality.


An 11-inch screen that projects a smartphone’s display onto a car windshield, just below the driver’s line of vision, it offers more than simply a second screen or mirroring experience, it can respond to voice commands and touch-free gestures so that there’s no need to fumble with a phone or phablet to toggle between dropped calls and live traffic updates.


Simply install the HeadsUP! app and then connect a handset to the display, either via USB or Bluetooth and you’re ready for the road ahead. The app allows the user to filter what his or her phone can do while connected — i.e., which notifications to display and which functions (whether it be Google Search, email, navigation, or the dialer for making phone calls) can be accessed.


If NeXt hits its funding goal — the campaign closes on December 23 — it hopes to honor the first orders by August 2014. And the price? There is an early bird option of $299 for the first 300 backers, but after that, the device will cost $399.


The NeXt HeadsUP! is by no way the first attempt to take the HUD mainstream. In July, Garmin, the GPS, satellite navigation system and traffic data company launched the HUD, a device no bigger than a smartphone which projects navigation information and the vehicle’s current speed onto a car windshield via a transparent film.


Compatible with Apple, Android and Windows Phone handsets running the companion app, it doesn’t offer the levels of functionality that NeXt hopes to achieve, but at $129 plus $29 for the app, it is significantly cheaper. – AFP/Relaxnews

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