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Toyota: Remote touch
Toyota: Remote touch
Lexus HS, RX

Luxury car makers have been trying for years to find elegant ways to interact with increasingly complex on-board navigation and entertainment systems. Up to now the choices have been knobs that you spin, wiggle and press, like on Mercedes-Benz or BMW, or touch screens, like those on Jaguars and various non-luxury brands.

The knobs can be confusing but the disadvantage of touch screens is, well, finger grease and, because they have no tactile feedback, they require you to look at the screen more.

The answer from Toyota's Lexus division is the Remote Touch control. It works just like the familiar computer mouse you're probably using now. Move it around until the pointer gets to something you want to click on, then press a button with your thumb.

It's better than a mouse, however, because it allows you to actually "feel" the screen. As your pointer passes over something you can click on, it sticks there for a bit, as if you're sliding an iron bar over a magnet. That way, your eyes can spend more time on the road and less on the screen.

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Last updated November 13 2009: 4:49 PM ET
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