SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) --It was once the stuff of fighter jets, but now it's in some high-end cars and soon maybe it will be in your car -- even if it's old and beat-up. ABC7 News took a ride with a gadget just unveiled on Monday that puts a heads-up display in just about any vehicle.
F-16's have them and so do Cadillacs. Displays can make critical information seem to float in mid-air, as you focus on what's in front of you.
Navdy co-founder and CEO Doug Simpson says, "The information is always there within your field of view, you don't have to think about it, you don't have to look down."
Simpson wanted that technology without having to buy a new car, so he built it. He calls it "Navdy."
The Navdy product video explains it this way: "There's a tiny, super, high-quality projector that puts the UI on a transparent screen in your field of view, projected like it's two meters out in front of you."
The product video also shows how Navdy works with your smartphone. The device can read text messages and lets you reply and share your location, all while keeping your eyes straight ahead and just speaking out what you want to say.
It also plugs into that little port that all the insurance companies have started using to show data like speed and gas mileage. And as its name implies, it navigates.
Now, unlike the heads-up displays that are built into some newer cars, Navdy doesn't have a button that goes on the steering wheel, but they do have another solution for that.
Simpson shows us, "You can swipe left, you can swipe right, you can also give the device a thumbs up to confirm."
A tiny infrared camera recognizes gestures, even in the dark. It sure beats fumbling with your phone.
"Touchscreens are not really designed for in-car use, they force you to look down and take your eyes off the road," Simpson says.
They're also not designed for sunlight. Navdy gets about 40 times brighter than an iPhone. It's got CNET's car tech senior editor Wayne Cunningham impressed.
Cunningham says, "This is really the best one I've ever seen. Cadillac's got a really good one, BMW actually has a full color one that shows really good route guidance, but the Navdy one has the most crisp imagery I've seen."
Cunningham says he has just one reservation. He says, "I kind of wonder how many people are actually going to want to put this in their cars, because it's a fairly big investment."
When it ships next year, Navdy will cost $500, but right now, you can pre-order for only $300, which still makes it about the world's most expensive Bluetooth speakerphone.