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Intuitive control solutions for an innovative air vent system in your car.
|Client||Behr GmbH & Co. KG|
Prof. Gerhard Reichert
(HfG Schwäbisch Gmünd)
Innovative technology needs intuitive controls. BEHR, a renowned car parts manufacturer reinvents the conventional in-car air vents with the new product »Natural Breeze«. Now you can get intense ventilation without any uncomfortable draft.
To get a grasp of the market in which Natural Breeze had to position itself, we started by thoroughly examining existing concepts. Based on their strengths and weaknesses, and in accordance with the established usability norm ISO 9241 we defined assessment criteria for our concepts.
Based on our research we developed over 20 concepts to mechanically control the new air vent. These concepts had to incorporate the usual parameters for strength and direction with the new control for the spread of the airflow. After assessing these concepts we chose the fittest three to further refine them.
This concept incorporates all three parameters (strength, direction and spread of the air stream) in one control: the air vent itself. Because of that you get immediate feedback and can therefore understand the function easily.
As a direct opposite to Helix-Grip, each parameter has its own control in Helix-Push: a thumbwheel for the strength, a push button to change between diffuse and direct airflow, and in direct mode the elevated vent itself to change the direction of the airflow.
To visualize the mechanics behind the diffuse airflow, the vent is left open. By that, the current mode is clearly visible and one can easily grab the vent to adjust the direction of the airflow. Strength and spread are controlled on a ring around the vent. Thereby the palm is directly in the airflow while adjusting, so you can feel every change instantly.
To finalize this project we designed a set of symbols to visualize the new function of the air vent and created some renderings of possible implementations of our concepts. With that, BEHR had everything to not only make the ventilation in cars more comfortable but also easier to use. Natural Breeze was first presented to the public at IAA 2011.