We've already seen the Apple iPad incorporated into a car's dashboard, but tech pioneer Cisco has envisioned a future when your entire dashboard operates in pretty much the same manner.
As reported by The New York Times "Wheels" blog, Cisco has created a prototype dashboard where the icons for applications -- such as your GPS navigation, fuel-use data and weather information -- can be manually manipulated just like on an iPad, by dragging and dropping, or made larger or smaller via pinching or expanding finger movements.
Not only that, but the dash wouldn't be hampered by the limitations of what's been factory-installed, as is the case now with a dash dominated by static buttons and dials. Instead, as with a smart phone, you could add or delete applications as you see fit, including stock information, Web browsers, a maintenance schedule or video applications. (One thing that is unlikely to change, as noted in the article, is the speedometer, whose size and location are determined by government regulations.)
Of course, the first reaction to an in-car video conferencing application tends to be safety-related, but Cisco insists its next-gen dashboard is simply an exploration of what is possible, not necessarily advisable. But the idea that you can personalize your dashboard with the type of information, widgets and apps that appeal most to you -- in the layout and sizes that suit your taste, as well -- is definitely something we'd like to see closer to the present than the future.