It's already been upstaged, this time using an Apple iPad and an HTML5 web app that uses the tablet's motion sensors in a similar manner to that of the smartphone R/C car. As such, there's not a lot to say on the matter.
Much more exciting is a Microsoft XBox Kinect hack by Gaurav Manek that allows you to steer the same car using only the motions of your hands, the motions of which are picked up using the Kinect's motion sensing and translated into movement in the car. Want to go forwards? wave upwards. Backwards is handled by moving your hand down, and left and right arm movements, predictably, result in the car going left and right.
You can check our Gaurav's video below:
You might think there's limited practical application for such a technology, and at the moment it's just the tweakings of a tech enthusiast for a bit of fun, but we think it could have potential in wider automotive use.
Carmakers are constantly searching for ways to improve in-car entertainment and information systems. BMW created the much maligned iDrive system to control 'infotainment' functions centrally, but it was flawed and complicated to many. Touch-screen displays have become more popular recently, helped by their usage on satellite navigation systems.
Lack of tactility can be a problem with touch-screens though, and in a car that means taking your eyes off the road to operate your entertainment and information controls.
What if you could use simple gestures to control in car entertainment? Perhaps a slow rotational movement of your hand to raise the stereo volume (or in the opposite direction to lower it), or a quick flick of the wrist to skip tracks? Either could be done without taking your eyes off the road.
You'd probably have to limit the movement to a particular area in front of the center stack so that random movements of a passenger's hand don't result in altering dozens of settings unintentionally, and you could always leave major controls to button presses to avoid too much confusion.
Would it work? We don't know, but as in-car tech develops we may see several competing technologies appear to control your driving life, and motion sensing is coming along in leaps and bounds. Maybe it won't be too long before a simple wave of the hand can control the music. It'd be like conducting an orchestra...