Smart Brakelights communicate difference between a tap and a slam...

I know it's happened to me, it's probably happened to you: on the highway, at a pretty good speed, and the car in front of you stops a lot more quickly than you'd expect. After the adrenaline rush, you can justify it to yourself - sure you saw his brakelights, but thought it was just a little slowdown, not a screeching halt. Well, why can't the brakelight itself show the difference between those two things? Mechanical engineering students at Virginia Tech under Professor Mehdi Ahmadian asked the same question, and came up with a three-stage smart brakelight, shown at right: that's a lit orange bar in the center for a mild slowing, add some flashing red bars on the side for a more significant slowing, and the whole thing flashing red for a severe stop. Those indicators seem to be intuitive enough that they'd work even without this system being widely adopted, especially for any driver following the same car for a little while and seeing the various states demonstrated in the course of normal traffic. And of course, the overall idea of a three-stage brakelight is certainly worthy, brilliant, and an excellent case of a more usable design having the potential to save lives!
[via Engadget]

No comments: