Nissan has adopted a technology that's almost 200 years old to build a solution that reduces smartphone distraction while driving.
The Nissan Signal Shield is a compartment within the armrest of a Nissan Juke that is lined with a Faraday cage. It was invented by an English scientist Michael Faraday, dating back to the 1830s, and is essentially an enclosure that is used to block electromagnetic fields. This happens when the external electrical field causes the electric charges with the cage's conducting material to be distributed in a manner that would cancel the field's effect inside the cage's interior.
Similarly, in Nissan’s application, when a mobile device is placed in the compartment and the lid is shut, the Nissan Signal Shield creates a ‘silent zone’ that blocks all of the phone's incoming and outgoing cellular, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections. This gives the driver the choice to opt out of the distractions caused by notifications from various mediums. In case drivers need to listen to music stored in their smartphone, they can still connect to the car's entertainment system through the USB or auxiliary ports. The device can maintain wired connectivity even when it is inside the Nissan Signal Shield compartment. And to restore the phone's wireless connections, the driver only needs to open the armrest to the compartment, which can be done without diverting attention from the road.
Nissan’s step in this direction came after reports indicated an alarming number of accidents on the road due to increased smartphone usage while on the go. Alex Smith, managing director, Nissan Motor GB Ltd said, "Mobile phone use at the wheel is a growing concern across the automotive industry, and indeed society, particularly with the high number of ‘pushed’ communications, such as texts, social media notifications and app alerts that tempt drivers to reach for their devices. The Nissan Signal Shield concept presents one possible solution for giving drivers the choice to remove all smartphone distractions while driving."