Use of smartphones while being behind the wheel of a car is proven to cause distractions, and in a scarily high number of instances, accidents. As much one might want to avoid it, one tends to pick that electronic brick up as soon as it beeps or rings as a reflex. The road safety boffins at Nissan think that a way to curb smartphone usage while driving is to cut out the cellular connection of the phone altogether. To that end, the company has built a new armrest concept, termed as the Nissan Signal Shield. So once you put your much loved smartphone in the storage compartment under the front armrest, it blocks all cellular signals so you can drive without any distractions.
By itself, this tech is nothing new and works on the principle of the Faraday cage, the roots of which could be dated as far back as in the 1830s. The device, in essence, uses a wire mesh or other materials to block its innards from electromagnetic fields. Once placed inside with the lid closed, all mobile, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals are blocked from reaching the smartphone. Nissan is terming the new approach to reducing distraction while driving as a “digital detox.”
So while the signals will be blocked, Nissan insists that user would still be able to listen to music or podcasts using a USB or auxiliary audio connection. Once you open the lid, the cellular or other wireless connections are automatically re-established and the phone could be connected to the car’s Bluetooth system.
While all of it sounds interesting, we think that the problem of distraction is solved by default for those who see it as a problem – just switch to Airplane mode – which does the same thing without any extra expense or effort.
Check out the new signal jammer in action in the video embedded below
Nissan Nissan Motor GB managing director Alex Smith, however, is rather upbeat about the innovation. “The Nissan Signal Shield concept presents one possible solution for giving drivers the choice to remove all smartphone distractions while driving. This is about delivering more control at the wheel, not less. Some drivers are immune to the activity of their smartphone, but for those who struggle to ignore the beeps and pings, this concept provides a simple solution in this very ‘connected’ world we live in”, he said.
Innovation worth applause or an exercise in futility? Do share your thoughts with us