Ford Develops Smart Shifter With Xbox 360 Parts

So, the kids are grown and have moved out, and you've finally traded off that automatic shifting minivan for a vehicle that more suits your new found freedom. If shifting the manual transmission is giving you a little grief, Ford's developed a new shifter than may help.

They have created a "smart" shift knob for manual transmission vehicles that will send tactile feedback to the driver when the vehicle hits a certain RPM and speed, informing the driver that it's time to shift. The shifter takes a haptic vibration motor from an Xbox 360 controller and using Bluetooth links it to the cars data output. The shifter has the possibility of presenting other information to drivers such as when it's time to shift for optimal gas mileage.

The really interesting thing is that the device is not available for people to purchase. It's an engineering project that uses Ford's OpenXC research platform (making it all open source) and all the files and firmware are available for download. This means with a little ingenuity you can make one yourself.

Kudos to Ford for developing products and releasing them into the wild for anyone to take advantage of.