Monday, February 11, 2008

Control Your Road Rage

I was watching a new show over the weekend with my brothers on MOJO (an awesome HD channel by the way), called Technology Jones. The show's premise is to take people who rely on technology for their everyday lives at work and home (who doesn't these days?), and to replace all their gadgets with the old equivalents based on a certain year, and see how it pans out for a week. The one we saw was with a guy who had a LOT of gadgets, including night vision goggles which he used to find his dogs in the dark, a recordable pen, wireless Internet access in his car, sunglasses with MP3 storage, a zippo that's actually a camera, and something else for his car which we thought was really cool...

Instead of acting on your road rage by flipping the bird or rolling your window down to yell obscenities, a company, AutoPlas, made a programmable LED display for cars to display in your back window (Not sure if AutoPlas made the one that the guy used on the show...I'm sure there are a few companies that make these things). Next time someone's tailgating you, just pop up the message, "Back off!" That would probably stop a lot of people in their tracks. Or if someone lets you move into their lane, give them a "Thanks!" message. Or just mess with people and pop up a "I know what you did last summer" to a random car.

A simple technology that's been around for ages...just developed for a specific purpose...and what a great idea! I mean what everyday person finds a good use for an LED display? Barely anyone. How many people get road rage from time to time, or need to communicate to another drive in some way? Practically everyone. It makes you want to think about simple products that sit around with what we think is limited use...until someone uses it to release a product like this, and you give the cliche response, "Why didn't I think of that?"


Mike said...

That sounds pretty awesome.

It reminds me of college, when I programmed an LED on the front of my computer. It was pretty hot - built into the case, and with a few hours of work, I could make it say different things. One day, my computer caught on fire... I opened up the computer, and lo and behold, it was the LED that had started it.

Moral of the story: don't put LEDs where they don't belong.

KW said...

"It was pretty hot"...whether it was intentional or not, nice pun.

David Oblas said...

I actually had an idea like that when I was just starting out to drive... although I never actually considered LED displays... Mine was more of like a pull string system, and a banner would come down over your bumper. Probably not that great of an idea, that's why i never took it anywhere!

KW said...

Good one Dave.

Mike said...


I had that same pull-string idea, but for a license plate cover. If one were to break a traffic law and saw a cop before the cop saw them, it would be a great way to cover one's license plate so the key identifying factor of one's car would be hidden. A poor man's version of the Aston Martin DB5's revolving plates in Goldfinger, if you will.


It was quasi-intentional. We've been developing a feature on our site for the past few weeks called the "hotlist", so every pun dealing with "hot" has been hashed and re-hashed on almost a daily basis. Sometimes I find myself using them without thinking. This is one such time.

David Oblas said...

I also had that idea with the license plate, but I decided to resort to just putting a piece of cardboard over it like the one kid in "the girl next door" did to his Hummer before running through the cop check post. Of course I only do that when I know I'm going to commit multiple traffic infractions.