Blind Drivers Test Retrofitted Car

Technology that doesn't assume sight doesn't only help the blind, he said. For example, touchscreen control panels in cars aren't just obstacles for blind people, they're also unsafe for the sighted, as they require the driver to pull his eyes from the road to see what he's doing.

Physical buttons that rely on the sense of touch would be a better design for everyone, he said. Although it might be easier for a sighted driver to look at the buttons to manipulate them, if he needed to change a control while driving, he could still feel his way around instead of looking away from the road.

In the same way, he continued, a dynamic steering wheel that gives a driver more than just visual cues could further enhance on-the-road safety.

"We have the potential to pull society away from this idea that vision is a requirement for success. Why aren't we thinking multisensory?," he asked. "As we create this technology, this interface for the car, there will be applications for everyone."

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