12 thoughts on “Touch Screens In Cars”

  1. Forget about touch screens.

    I want a car with power door handles.

    I was first skeptical about power windows breaking down and being an expensive repair, but I got used to them. I even figured out how to fix the sticking power window on my 1997 Camry that would make NASA proud. So much for the legendary Toyota reliability.

    I squirted almost a whole can of WD-40 after pushing the straw through the door latch opening. Window hasn’t given any trouble 15 years later.

    I am ready to move on to the next power accessory, powered door handles like they have on a Tesla. You wave your hand like actor Alec Guiness applying Jedi Mind Tricks to the Star Wars Stormtrooper guards while telling them, “These are not the droids you’re looking for”, and the door handle extends from its recess that you can actually, like, grab it to open the door.

    Forget about the expensive repair when it breaks. Forget about fixing it with a can of WD-40. I don’t know how I lived without this feature since forever.

  2. My wife’s 2018 Mazda has a knob in the center console that controls all of the functions of the “infotainment” center. It’s about 2 inches in diameter, rotates and tilts left/right, fore/aft. The touchscreen function is actually locked out when the car is moving so the knob is the only way to interact with the screen then. I think it’s great but others complain about it.

    1. Back in ancient times, when a gregarious airline flight-deck crew would allow an aviation-geek passenger to come forward after landing, something told me that on one glass-cockpit screen, there was some kind of knob control selecting the mode of a navigation display.

      At the time, when I was neck deep in developing a user interface for an acoustic analysis software package on Windows, I thought, “How resourceful of the dude-bros at Collins to provide a knob to select screens instead of the cumbersome keyboard and mouse!”

      1. Probably at about the same time I was neck deep in developing a general purpose Windows program for creating analog gauge displays. Good times.

      2. Speaking of ancient history…

        Although I was allowed to develop the software for all the micro-controllers used in the Alliant FX Series Diagnostic Bus I wasn’t allowed to write the custom code used in the same micro-controller for the system front panel. In a fit of over-engineering it was decided (over my protest) that the flat panel touch buttons (electrostatic not flat screen) that controlled various boot options would not “stick” until left in a changed setting for one minute. Otherwise upon reset or power cycle, before that limit was up, the button controlled settings would “pop back” into the prior setting and that was what was used. Confusing as all heck. One would think changing an option would take immediate effect, but noooooo. This was because the permanent settings were stored into a serial EEPROM with a limited life-cycle of writes. Upon reset the RAM setting was overwritten with the SEEPROM setting. They were paranoid that if the write cycles were surpassed the buttons wouldn’t work. They didn’t seem to realize or understand that the cycle limit was TEN THOUSAND WRITES. As if somebody was going to be pressing front panel buttons all day and all night for days on end on a time shared system. I doubt that over the lifetime of all Alliant systems everywhere the front panel max might have been in the high 40s to 50s pressings. I’m sure the ones in the Computer Museum are still nowhere near their SEEPROM write limits, even if the buttons themselves have failed.

        My only parting comment is that the Electronics Group at Toyota would have been proud of that design.

        1. You are describing a fancy version of an oscilloscope?

          Were the controls of such a device to ever make any sense, what would a sadistic TA from a Near Eastern country ever do to humiliate Electrical Engineering students in Circuits 1 Lab during a “bench exam”?

          1. lol. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried to measure an oscillating circuit using a vacuum tube oscilloscope that has‘t warmed up yet. You quickly learn in Circuits Lab 1 to turn on the oscilloscope before you start the lab. Problem was they always locked the damn lab door and you had to wait for the friggin TA.

            Brings back memories. Tried to measure the output of a solid state integrator. Could not get ANY stable traces on a good scope. Then to the amazement of my lab partner, in a burst of an insightful vision, I extended the index finger of my right hand, applied appropriate pressure to the top of the DIP package on the breadboard an voila! You couldn’t have dreamt for better picture oerfect traces. The essential lab technique came into play a decade later at DEC when I was able to resurrect an assumed broken network interface card on a Vax-11/750.

          2. Whad’ya mean I haven’t “experienced” a vacuum-tube oscilloscope?

            You think I am a mere child? I started engineering studies using a slide rule, too.

            By the way, is there anyone here commenting on Rand’s fine website who hasn’t used a slide rule or a vacuum-tube scope?

          3. I thought you’d appreciate that. As compared to trying to figure out how to zoom in on a captured trace while displaying delta V and time with labeled traces. 🙂

      3. Some years back I rented a vehicle (don’t remember the make or model) that threw me for a bit, because the gear selector was a knob on the lower part of the dashboard. Apparently it was a throwback to an earlier design for shifting gears that I had never heard of, until someone older than me told me about it. I got used to it after a week, then had to go back to my archaic 2005 Camry.

  3. It is a hazard to try to use the radio in our 2013 RAV4.
    Not any better in a 2017 RAV4 either…

Comments are closed.