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Home > Blog > A Wink at 70 MPH
Out of Our Minds
Monday, July 26, 2004 10:14 PM
A Wink at 70 MPH
Kevin Salwen on Creativity

Sometimes when I'm driving down the highway, I wish I had a whiteboard to write messages to the other driver. I'm thinking, of course, mainly of the Nastygrams I could deliver about how my fellow freeway user shouldn't drive along the shoulder in a traffic jam to ace out others or might consider some day using his turn signal or -- my personal favorite -- refusing to make eye contact to let someone else in.

But those brilliant scientists at Toyota appear to have done me one better: They built emotional reactions into the car! Today's New York Times reports that the four inventors have won a patent on their vehicle, which they describe as having:
--an antenna that wags
--an adjustable body height
--headlights that vary in intensity, and
-- hood slits and ornamentation designed to look like eyebrows, eyelids and tears, all of which could glow with colored lights to create moods and physical features.

The inventors believe, the Times reports, that these features on cars will make driving more entertaining. In the patent they write that 'as traffic grows heavier and vehicle use increases, vehicles having expression functions, such as crying and laughing, like people and other animals do, could create a joyful, organic atmosphere rather than the simple comings and goings of inorganic vehicles.'

What are we to make of this? Count me in the 'amused' category. I can't help but respect inventors with a sense of humor -- and these folks clearly have one. Of course, maybe Edsel Ford did too.


Annika - 7/28/2004 4:22:27 PM

I always thought the 1961 Chevy truck had facial expressions... its 'eyes' even 'blinked'.
lee - 7/27/2004 9:54:12 AM
I love the Toyota idea but it just opens a can of worms. Next thing you know, Hummer will have a car that shits on your parking space and flexes the passenger doors outward to take up even more space in a lane.
anita - 7/26/2004 11:57:01 PM
Today I wished I had a car that could communicate, 'Practice random acts of kindness and senseless beauty.'

I got trapped in a left lane and tried to merge right to exit; a pickup truck -- bearing an aggressive/anti-social front license plate I won't quote -- was determined to keep me from doing so. He honked for 45 seconds (I counted), gave me an obscene gesture and opened his door to continue the tirade. I waved and blew him a kiss. I'm willing to bet that for hours after, he was still talking about the b---- who cut him off.

Why do cars make people so angry?


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