The Steering Wheel

If I asked you to close your eyes and mimic the action of using one of the simple human interfaces of everyday life, you could probably do it. Without having a button to push, you could close your eyes and pretend to push a button, and that action would accurately reflect the action of pushing a real button. The same goes for flipping a switch or turning a doorknob. If you closed your eyes and faked the movement, it would sync up with its real-world use.

Now if I asked you to do the same with a car’s steering wheel, you’d think you’d be able to mime the correct movements with your hands in the air, but you’d be wrong. Very, very wrong. You’d probably kill a bunch of imaginary people.

Our friends at “Humans in Design,” Tristan Cooke and Tom Nelson, bring us this story about how our brain knows how to steer without really knowing how to steer, and what that means for steering wheel design. They interviewed Dr. Steve Cloete, from The University of Queensland, who conducted the awesome blind driver studies.

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