Big Blue Ford Explorer wired up

Combining current products with future technologies fresh from its labs, IBM has offered a glimpse of tomorrow's wired car

Combining current products with future technologies fresh from its labs, IBM has offered a glimpse of tomorrow's wired car

The company upgraded a 2002 Ford Explorer with wireless and Web-based remote control technologies which it demonstrated at the IBM Software Forum in San Francisco.

One of the features, BlueDrekar, is Big Blue's version of Bluetooth for embedded Linux. It allows developers to use Bluetooth in small devices with low-power processors.

An IBM engineer called Chuck Lam, used what can only be described as an over-sized watch with BlueDrekar built in to lock and open the demo car doors, operate the lights, the air conditioning, and the car stereo.

Inside the car, IBM created an alarm system using Blue Eyes; a new technology developed at IBM Labs designed to detect retina movements and frequency of eye blinks. An infrared camera watches the driver's eyes while the car is in motion. If the system does not detect the eyeballs, it assumes the driver has fallen asleep and sounds the alarm.

Other uses for Blue Eyes, according to Baldemar Fuentes, another member of the IBM team, would be to log a driver's retina signature and automatically adjust the mirror and seating to suit an individual driver.

Blue Eyes works in tandem with another IBM technology called Tspaces that allows devices to communicate and for one device to control another. IBM also demonstrated Web-based capabilities, such as the remote control of windows and doors.

The car was equipped with IBM's ViaVoice speech recognition software, which was used to read and send e-mails.

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