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iSimple module connects steering-wheel buttons with smartphone voice command

Access smartphone navigation, calling, and audio features without lifting a finger from the wheel with the iSimple InSeam.


Modern smartphones are pretty much the do-all device for tech-forward drivers. However, law enforcement (and your fellow drivers) aren't too happy with your phone-fumbling while behind the wheel. iSimple thinks that it has a solution that will help drivers to access all of these devices' navigation, calling, messaging, and music features without touching the phone or lifting a finger from the steering wheel.

The iSimple InSeam is a hardware module installed behind your car's dashboard that gives the driver access to the voice actions already on his or her smartphone via the steering-wheel controls. At its core, InSeam is an FM transmitter with some intelligence built in, connecting to the factory radio by plugging into the antenna connection and sending its audio over an empty FM frequency, giving it nearly universal compatibility. Connections to steering-wheel controls and power for the unit are slightly less plug-and-play. There is also a microphone included for picking up voice commands and relaying them to the handset.

Once everything is installed, paired, and set up, drivers will be able to tap a button on their steering wheel to issue voice commands to initiate calls, send text messages, get turn-by-turn navigation, or call up local or Internet-streamed music apps without looking away from the road or taking a hand off of the steering wheel. When listening to music, the car's skip forward and back controls are also accessible. Audio for calls, spoken directions, music, and more will be piped into the cabin through the car's speakers, which are (in most cases) much easier to hear than a phone's built-in driver.

Check out the video below to see the iSimple InSeam in action.

The system connects to the handset via a wireless Bluetooth connection and makes use of an InSeam app to handle the communication between the hardware and your phone's software. InSeam is compatible with Android and iPhone devices and their first-party voice command software -- Google Now and Siri, respectively -- as well as an assortment of third-party voice command apps, such as Samsung S Voice, Dragon Mobile Assistant, and Robin.

On certain vehicles, InSeam will also be able to display song and call data or incoming text notifications on the radio's display.

The InSeam is available now at select retailers at an MSRP of $189.95. iSimple's Web site lists InSeam compatibility with over 20 vehicle makes and a plethora of models, recommending professional installation, likely due to the variety of differences between individual models. So, unless you're comfortable with a bit of dashboard disassembly, you'll want to factor in a few extra bucks for installation.