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Toyota's Crazy Smart Window Concept

Watching the video (above), you can’t help but be blown away by Toyota’s “Window to the World” concept for rear windows. It allows rear passengers, namely children, to tap on the window to identify things the car is passing, like sheep or homes.

They also can drag open a digital pane in the window to magnify things they’re passing. Like sheep.

They can even draw images on the window like trees that will then move off the screen as if they’re part of the scenery.

This is a tremendous way to get children more involved in the outside world rather than watching cartoons on an iPad, let’s say. But how often are you passing through quaint countryside locales like the one in the video?

Plus, your child would have to be able to reach the window easily. In today’s strapped-in world of child-safety seats and high beltline car designs, I don’t see that happening. Not to mention that the girl in the video doesn’t appear to be belted in.

Window-mounted displays would be best used on the windshield like a head-up display to keep motorist’s eyes on the road. Or perhaps a unique rear window could show the surroundings in an augmented way making rearview monitors unnecessary.

For me, I’d rather Toyota make rear sunscreens standard for a lot less money; my kids can just keep smudging my iPad screen.

Photo of David Thomas
Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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