Liz Dobson: A twirl to up the volume
BMW’s new 7 Series luxury sedan has just been launched in New Zealand and it contains gesture control technology for the first time in automobiles.
The system works through a few defined hand movements made near the centre console, so you don’t need to take your eyes of the road to hit a button near the infotainment screen or on the steering wheel.
By twirling your finger clockwise or anticlockwise in front of the infotainment screen you can increase or decrease the volume of your stereo system.
To answer — or reject — a phone call you can swipe left or right in front of the screen and the system lets you programme the ‘‘two fingers pointing’’ gesture for a function.
And before you go there, the ‘‘two fingers pointing’’ is a horizontal gesture, not a rapid vertical movement, which is probably intentional because the amount of times a week I do ‘‘that’’ gesture would overload the system.
It works via a sensor in the roof near the rear view mirror, which constantly monitors the area in front of the infotainment screen.
It took me a couple of times to get the volume gesture to work because I was too fast with my circular movement.
One finger slowly turning made it work.
It was great fun to use as well — finger-turning right until the volume was close to ear bleed loudness, then swirling left to mute. But, if like my co-driver and me, you gesticulate a lot while talking, then you’re prone to set off the system.