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What if products could move the same way that flowers grow? Daimler, through the VISION AVTR, created a futuristic concept car based on the movie Avatar. It centres on the way the creatures in the movie are connected with nature. Their design question was how to create something that connects nature and sustainability with the car, for a symbiosis between humans, technology and nature. In order to bridge the gap between the present time and their 100 years into the future car, this project aimed at creating an innovative steering wheel inspired by the movement of a flower from Avatar.

“It had to be a playful and organic interaction where the human still has some sense of control.”
Charlotte Bording

Bloomn is a steering wheel that is able to “bloom” open when the user wants to drive manually and folds in to devolve into autonomous mode. The steering wheel can help the user to drive more economically by communicating if the driver drives too inconsistent or over the speed limit. It does so by expanding a little bit, creating a slightly rougher surface. The steering wheel then relaxes if the driver drives efficiently or if the driver squeezes to return the steering wheel back to neutral. 

Bloomn is an extension of both the car and the driver in which they communicate with their own physical skills. Bloomn was designed via a material exploration in which the focus was on the movement and behaviour of origami. This material behaviour was used to mimic the movement of the flower. It was a hands-on process resulting in a direct monologue between human touch and material behaviour.

“I wanted to use imagination and make a fantasy as real as I could.”
Charlotte Bording

More and more technologies are taking over human tasks. The control is taken over by autonomous cars and the sounds of roaring engines are replaced by artificial sounds in hybrid cars. Some of these changes have positive aspects, but they also change our way of living and the relationship that we have with technology. We might risk to lose our passion and autonomy, while hybridity can enrich, connect and spark our imagination as well. 

Here the steering wheel has become an expressive entity instead of a passive object. That, in turn, creates a more dynamic and rich interaction between the human and technology. Bloomn is made to create a natural interaction as an emotional expression like that of a human or an animal.