OK, when we were kids, cars of the future were different, right? We had visions in our minds about vehicles which went underwater, fired laser beams from the headlights and could shape-shift. (well the cars in my mind did anyway.)

Recently, BMW unveiled it’s GINA Concept car, which as the picture shows, is covered with a flexible skin which animates and folds as the frame under the car moves. Imagine switching the headlights on and the skin opening to reveal the lights, like a human eye revealing the iris. When the doors open the skins wrinkles around the frame and creates many a beautiful shape. Then the bonnet opens, the skin slides apart like a divers wet suit.

There have been many detractors from this piece of true design over the last few weeks, but they are forgetting this is a prototype to show what the future holds. If designers didn’t try things and show what is possible, we would never dream and other innovators would never be inspired.

Everybody says, well done BMW for thinking outside the normal bounds of car body manufacture. Well done for opening our eyes to the possibilities of the future, and most of all well done for doing something designers are guilty of in all fields… not looking at and developing materials which are not the usual way to solve a problem.

Click the image above to hear Chris Bangle (Design Director at BMW) talk about the GINA project and see the innovation in action. Thanks, Chris, for starting to make me remember what cars should be like in the future.