We recently stumbled across a project from Ford’s excellent OpenXC program by Ford engineer Zac Nelson. Zac has created a custom knob for gear sticks that implements haptic feedback to communicate the best time to change gear to the driver.
OpenXC allows for the development of custom software and hardware which connects to the car itself. Ford describes it as an “API to your car”. This makes it easy for 3rd parties and hobbyists to create designs that improve the car, either for sale or personal use.
This specific modification uses data about the vehicles speed, RPM and accelerator pedal position sent from the internal sensors to an Android device. The Android device then calculates if the driver is in the correct gear or needs to change and pulses the vibration motor accordingly.
The haptic feedback teaches new drivers when they should change gear, and helps augment visual notification on the dashboard indicator. The whole project is open source and you can get access to all the files and follow the instructions here. You may notice the motors being used are very similar to the 310-114, and 312-107.
You no longer need to wait for your car manufacturer to add the haptic feedback upgrades you want, you can make them yourself!