Posted Thursday, July 21, 2011, at 3:32 PM
I admit to having mixed feelings about kids engrossed in technology. My iPad is strictly my iPad, and you'll rarely, if ever, find one of my kids playing with my phone in a restaurant or grocery store queue. But I make an exception for travel, and oh, would I make an exception for this. Toyota is working to develop an interactive touchscreen window. According to Gizmodo, back seat passengers could "could draw on the window, pinch to zoom to get a close glimpse of what's outside or use it to display information about the surrounding landscape." You can check those educational-sounding experiences on this video, posted to Autoblog.
Of course, a window that could do those things could surely also support a game of Angry Birds or a Dora the Explorer video. And that would be just fine with me. Anyone who's nostalgic for the days of kids packed into the back seat singing and squabbling hasn't experienced it lately. I have, when we failed to bring the Nintendo chargers on a four-hour drive recently. Do you know a song called "I Know a Song That Everybody Hates and This Is How It Goes?" I do. And I have four kids who would be happy to sing it for you.
And when the Nintendos, et al., are working, most of my fears about kid-tech haven't been realized. They're not each wrapped up in their own experience, they're using the pictochat feature to send each other pictures and passing games and gadgets around. They're leaned over each other's screens and competing. And sometimes they're squabbling. Which brings me, of course, to the real problem with this idea. It's going to give a whole new meaning to the words "I get the window seat!"