Next time you drop something in the car, be careful you don’t actually call your mother-in-law while looking on the seat. Why? Because BMW unveiled a new technology in its Vision iNext concept — interactive upholstery. Is it possible to have innovation for innovation’s sake? BMW calls some of the technology “Shy Tech”, or tech you can’t actually see, and it could be seen as the next step forward from touchscreens. Why bother with a touchscreen at all when you can just draw someone’s name on the Jacquard cloth upholstery with your finger and the car will call them? Simply asking the car to call someone seems more logical but concept vehicles are designed to show the limits of tech, the ideas in a designer or engineer’s head and the BMW Vision iNext is a good example of it. Klaus Frohlich, BMW’s head of research and development, says that this is just one example of why the iNext will be a “trailblazer for our future technologies”. Before purists panic though, he says it won’t all jus...

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