Researcher wins grant for holographic instrument panel controls

A $50,000 Honda Initiation Grant goes to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University professor.
By Control Engineering Staff February 14, 2008

An Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University professor, Tarek El Dokor, has been awarded a $50,000 Honda Initiation Grant for development of holographic instrument panel controls and displays. “It implements a software alternative to what is currently a hardware solution to various controls,” said El Dokor, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Prescott, AZ, campus. “Think iPhone, which has a software-based touch keypad, versus current PDAs, which have actual keyboards. You don’t need to touch any screens. Content is projected away from the dashboard and toward the user, where the user can manipulate it in many ways.”

The panel under development provides the operator of a vehicle with faster, safer, and more efficient access to information. According to Embry-Riddle vice president for research Christina Frederick-Recascino,

El Dokor directs the university’s Machine Vision Lab , in which researchers investigate and develop machine vision, machine perception, and robotics applications that range from video games and unmanned aerial vehicles to training programs and outdoor signage.

One of the developments is a way for people to control the movement of video game characters by moving their own bodies instead of using a joystick or controller. The movements are captured on-camera and send messages through the computer that tell on-screen objects or contents what to do. An image on-screen can be rotated or moved as users move a finger a few inches from the screen.

El Dokor’s proposal was chosen from among 300 grant submissions. Five other U.S. university professors also received grants. The purpose of Honda’s program is to fund, in early stages of research, innovative ideas that are likely to contribute value to technology over five to ten years.

Also see, from Control Engineering:
Holographic HMI gets 2nd U.S. patent
2004 Editors’ Choice Awards: Holographic interface’s keypad images float in air