Eindhovens ‘makersculture’ becomes evident at the Mini Maker Faire. On the 10th and 11th of September, the third edition of the Maker-festival will take place at the Vestdijk, in VDMA. It’s an event built for makers from all ages, where visitors can build their own robots as well as take a look at the designs of High-Tech fashion. Where visitors can listen to speakers, watch designs and -most importantly- get a hands-on experience from the exhibition.

Running up to the Mini Maker Faire (10th 11th September), E52 will publish several articles about the Faire. This is the third one in the series.

Sergej Zwaan (24) helps the autonomous car communicate with its driver. At the Mini Maiker Faire he will display his design for a car-dashboard that should do just that.

Zwaan was searching for a balanced system that would attract the users attention (when neccesary) but would be quiet enough for the driver to not be distracted at all (when everything on the road is safe). “I want the driver of the car to be able to quietly read a book”, Zwaan says. That balance was found in a blue light, dubbed ‘the car’s own voice’, by Zwaan.

Light
The light was put in a system that Zwaan eventually called the ‘Comrade‘, a dashboard designed to be a ‘friend’ to the driver. “I want to establish a collaboration between human and artificial intelligence. They should help one and other in order to create the safest and convenient way to get from point A to point B”, he says.

I think the automotive industry is still to conservative to implement systems like these in their market.

The blue light used in the design, moves like a snake through the dasboard. If there’s something blocking the road, the snake will remove itself from the steering wheel. “This should alert the driver to start taking over the wheel again.”

Bridge the gap
According to Zwaan the dashboard aims to bridge a gap between the non-autonomous, human-driving and the fully autonomous. “A collaboration between man and machine is something that triggers me. I don’t want to put the responsibillity fully in the hands of one or the other. If the car warns the driver that something’s wrong and the driver doesn’t take over, the car will gradually slow down and pull over to the side of the road.”

Het prototype van de Comrade

Het prototype van de Comrade

“The dashbaord reads the car’s emotions, and translates them via the light.”  In some situations, the light will shine less bright, or move less fast. “The more the car wants the drivers attention, the hard the light will move back and forth.”

Market
The Comrade is Zwaan’s graduationproject at the TU/e in Eindhoven. He isn’t planning to actually get the system to a market.  Hij is niet van plan het systeem daadwerkelijk naar de markt te brengen. “I think the automotive industry is still a bit too conservative to implement a system like this on a large scale in the market.”

“During my work on the project however, I have received feedback from TomTom and Daf regarding the possibilities of the concept. After that, I decided to further research the concept and share it with the scientific community. Perhaps I can inspire others to start work on similar projects or this could be the start of a career that will allow me to change the automotive industry from on the inside, towards a world that is fitted to the philosophy that’s behind Comrade.”

The dashboard will be displayed at the Mini Maker Faire on the Vestdijk on the 11th and 12th of September.