04 December 2006
Car giant Honda is patenting a scheme that would let drivers see traffic conditions on the road ahead with their own eyes. It could even let them see how full a car park is, before leaving their house in the morning.
The idea is to build tiny cameras into its cars’ wing mirrors. These “car cams” would look at the road both ahead and behind and use cellphone connections to send real time video back to a central server. Each car would also transmit its GPS location and speed, allowing the central server to build a collection of road views and traffic information, integrated into a digital map of the area.
Honda envisages a free access scheme, allo tiffany wing any participating driver to use a home computer or an in car navigation device to click on a map and view real time road conditions and details of car speeds. Fixed cameras by the roadside could supplement the data.
For privacy, Honda suggests that all video footage would be supplied anonymously, and that all cameras would automatically switch off whenever the GPS device detects that it is close to the driver’s home or office. The same system, they suggest, could make puncture proof tires or protective shields for aircraft engines.
The secret is to make armour material from several layers of Kevlar, with some of the layers impregnated with a fluid that normally acts as a lubricant but which becomes a high friction glue when shocked by impact.
Fine particles of silicon dioxide, susp tiffany ended in 50/50 mix of ethylene glycol and ethanol do the job nicely. Under normal conditions the particles slide freely and let the material flex with the wearer’s body. Upon impact, however, the particles bind together and form a rigid shield. Making the particles egg shaped, rather than spherical, apparently improves the binding protection.
Tests involving shooting the material with bullets from a gas gun, and stabbing it with an ice pick. The high friction glue improved the resilience of the material, reducing penetration depths compared to Kevlar on its own.
Read the full soft body armour patent application.
Another automobile idea could see drivers belt up with an airbag. Ford Global Technologies, the car maker’s research wing in Michigan, US, is working to combine the cushioning effect of an air bag with the restraint of an ordinary seat belt.
The lap and shoulder sections of Ford’s new belts are made from tough elastic tiffany material containing inflatable tubes. The sheathing is held flat, like a thick but otherwise ordinary seat belt, by stitching.
While flat, the belts move freely and latch with conventional buckles. Following a collision, however, rapid deceleration triggers sensors that release gas from cylinders at the base of the seat belt. The gas races through the tubing making it expand, and ripping the stitching apart to let the belts inflate. In a split second tiffany the driver and passengers are held secure by inflated “belt bags”.
For more than 30 years, Barry Fox has trawled through the world’s weird and wonderful patent applications, uncovering the most exciting, bizarre or even terrifying new ideas. Read previous Invention columns, including:.