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Award-Winning Origo Steering Wheel Concept Is All Thumbs logo 2020/09/15 Christopher Smith

a close up of a remote control: Origo Steering Wheel © Copyright Origo Steering Wheel

The sci-fi design allows drivers to control all modern vehicle systems directly from the wheel.

There's no denying that modern automobiles are becoming more packed with technology than ever. However, with the added convenience come consequences. Such systems can be difficult to navigate easily while in motion, and that can lead to distracted driving which is certainly dangerous for everyone on the road.

That's the motivation behind this space-age-looking steering wheel. Called the Origo Steering Wheel concept, it was designed by a Finnish-based consortium with the goal of keeping drivers' hands on the wheel at all times. It combines familiar, tactile, three-dimensional touch surfaces on the steering wheel in easy reach of thumbs. These surfaces can be connected to a wide variety of smart controls in the vehicle, allowing the driver to do everything from adjusting climate settings to activating turn signals and more complicated features that would normally require a touchpad – all without letting go of the wheel.

"The initial idea of the Origo steering wheel was to challenge the status quo of the existing steering wheel [Human-Machine Interface] and not just take the easy route of converting analog controls into digital versions," said Miika Heikkinen, lead designer for Northern Works, one of the companies in the consortium. "Our lives have become cluttered with information and overstimulated with choices, so we wanted to offer the driver clarity with our steering wheel concept and reduce functions and controls to just the bare necessities."

The Future Is Now:

The innovative wheel concept hasn't gone unnoticed. It recently won a German Design Award 2021 from the German Design Council, focusing on the human-machine interface. Future applications for the wheel are unknown at this time, but with technology in automobiles seemingly unstoppable, it seems likely that at least some of the wheel's features will eventually show up in production models.

"We are all proud that this new, jointly developed HMI solution has drawn great interest and has been awarded with such a prestigious prize," said Juha Kokkonen, CEO of Canatu Oy. "The Origo Steering Wheel shows the value of re-imagining user experiences by integrating inspired design, innovative 3D touch surfaces, and leading-edge software."

Source: Canatu

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