An invention for road safety


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During Tom Coates’ talk Everything the Network Touches during Webstock, I had an idea.

The talk gist of the talk was the networking and connection of modern day appliances and products that could speak to each other and work with each other to make new and exciting things possible. An simple example would be a bathroom scale that automatically tracks and reports your weight.

An interesting and perhaps more useful example would be a sensor placed in every car parking space which would continually to The Internets™ whether it was free or taken. Your iPhone/mobile app would grab this information from The Internets™ give you a real time report of the free spaces near to your current location, and give you directions on how to get there. Pretty cool, huh? And how simple would it be?

So, back to my idea. A few years ago I learned of a clever way the BBC documentary filmmakers ensured they always got the shot. I cannot find an article to link to, but the gist is this: the cameraman points the camera to the direction of where she expects the action to take place. The innovative camera design is such that it continually films the scene, but continually dumps the digital footage after a few seconds. Once the action starts, the cameraman springs into action and hits record — which actually just stops the dumping of digital footage — guaranteeing the capture of action a few seconds before record was hit. In a nutshell, a sort of digital camera time machine.

Now, back to my idea again. Imagine one (or several) small cameras built into to every car. They continually film the surrounding traffic dumping the captured footage after say, 10 seconds. If the car has an accident, there would be footage recorded not only of the accident itself, but the 10 seconds leading up to impact. Like a black box, but for cars.

The issue of who was in the right or wrong would essentially be eliminated; the cameras would have caught the whole thing. How cool would that be for road safety? I think it’d work pretty well.

Who do I need to speak with to get this shit rolling?

  • Fox
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    Fox Fox

    The car park thing is real. I saw it in a mall carpark. There were lights at the end of each car space: red if taken, green if free. A summary sign on each level gave the total of free spaces on that level.

  • Barto
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    Barto Barto

    Cool. I think Tom Coates said it was already out there, but I was thinking generally in the streets. Coupled with an iPhone app this would be awesome. The app could also tell you the time limit, whether the limit applies at the current time, and what the cost is if it’s a paid parking spot.

  • Steve
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    Steve Steve

    Issue with your car video idea… how the hell is anyone going to scam the wealthy insurance companies!!!

    car park idea = win