Monday, August 10, 2009

Extensions of system, extensions of mind

From Ben L.
"How many times have you parked and had to open the door and look down to make sure you are fitting into the space?"

Love this set of photos. Think about all the gadgets or hacks that have been devised to assist with the specific task of parking accurately or in a confined space.
  • Floor mats or bumpy cues on the floor
  • Antennae sticking up from the front corners of the bumpers
  • Dangling tennis ball from a string in the garage
  • Using visual reference in the garage of looking to the side
  • Learning how the headlight beams change shape at different distances when projected against a surface directly ahead
  • Beeping radar distance sensors
  • Backup cameras
  • Lexus' self-parking cars
  • Having a friend get out and help direct
  • Lexus' passenger side mirror automatically flip down to show the floor when put into Reverse to show distance to curb
  • Auto-folding mirrors to squeeze into narrow spots (comes standard in a lot of countries)
  • Pads or bumpers to go on the bumpers to avoid dings and dents from "love tapping" while parking
  • "360 view" Nissan and Honda have
  • Any others? I should find links/photos for these examples.
Yesterday, a friend of mine remarked as I was parking, "You San Franciscans love parallel parking and are so good at it." I definitely don't do it as well as I used to now that I don't live there anymore.

How come parking is still so tough when we feel so comfortable driving like it's an extension of ourselves. How well do these hacks or tools for parking help us bridge the gap?
While we're on the topic of parking, how about the problem of finding those elusive open spots in a huge parking area?
I always try to think of a better way to help people find a parking spot when I'm looking for parking at a huge lot like at college, the zoo, the airport, etc. I've seen a few attempted solutions. The best was probably a Westfield mall in west LA that had lights above each spot that would indicate whether there was a car in it.

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