State-of-the-art steering wheel concept features touch-sensitive inputs and a recyclable design

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Here is a fact that I certainly did not know until now. Steering wheels are not recycled. They inevitably always end up in landfills, and while almost any part of a car can be taken apart, reused, refurbished, or recycled, a steering wheel usually isn’t. The ‘Circle’ changes that. With a design that is both advanced and recyclable, the Circle takes a circular economy approach to design. It comes with touch inputs that bring a cutting-edge experience to your ride… but more importantly, the Circle can be dismantled, repaired and recycled. The internal technology can be swapped out, the outer casing can be replaced (if broken), all without compromising the Circle’s user experience.

Designers: Dominik Bini and Stu Cole

The Circle improves on the steering wheel by opting for a sleeker design that gives you haptic touch controls under your fingertips. You have a wheel with a backlit logo in the center, horns on either side, and arrow keys that trigger the indicators.

“More than 20 million vehicles reach end of life every year in the EU and the US, say the designers. “With their complex multi-material construction and integrated controls, the steering wheels defy recycling.”

Designers Dominik and Stu decided that to make the wheel more advanced, it needed to be more repairable. The Circle, to this end, has an easy-to-disassemble, repair and refurbish design. It’s hard to imagine a single steering wheel being a standard (much like seatbelts are an unwavering standard), but Circle was designed for a speculative world where automotive brands could simply opt for a standard steering wheel design that also happened to be repairable, helping reduce landfill waste.

Le Cercle is the winner of the iF Design Award for the year 2022.

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