Illustration for article titled A Prediction For The Future Of Automotive Easter Eggs

More and more cars are replacing their analog gauge clusters with LCD screens. The new Audi TT's 'virtual cockpit' is a pretty good look at what the future holds, and right now these screens are in Kias, Fords, Benzes, and more. Almost all of these clusters shape the displays to be non-rectilinear. And that means secret zones.


See, every car interior designer wants their instrument clusters to mimic the look of analog instruments to some degree, and they almost invariably want the instrument binnacle to be shaped to reference how things looked with clusters of round gauges. But nobody's going to go through the expense of making non-rectangular LCD screens, so that means there's a lot of hidden pixels in today's dashes.


Under elaborately shaped plastic bezels and frames lurks a number of corners and other irregularly-shaped regions of pixels just waiting to be used for nefarious purposes. The dash computer's software defines the visible areas of the instruments, but there's no reason a mischievous programmer couldn't draw some text or images to one of the hidden regions.

You'd never know it was even there until you pulled the dash apart, after all. and only then if the car was on. I'm predicting we'll see at some point in the future, funny/vulgur/indside-joke somethings showing up in these hidden zones, most likely not discovered until these cars start making it into the LeMons/Chumpcar racing circuits, where they're most likely to be stripped of dash trim material and still operated.

I'm all for it. Hidden easter eggs are great in cars, and this new quirk of auto design is just begging for something good. Let's keep an eye open.

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