CLOSE
Original image

Inflatable Seat Belts

Original image

Old curmudgeons like me like to talk about how much freedom children had when we were young. We had less supervision, more responsibilities, and the freedom to come and go that our children and grandchildren can scarcely imagine. But there is one area we check ourselves. When someone says, "When I was a kid, we didn't even have seat belts, or laws that said you had to use them, or airbags." The next line should be "...and we turned out fine," but we stop because we all know at least one kid who didn't turn out fine, who isn't here to relive those memories. Many childhood dangers are overblown, but traffic accidents are still the most common cause of death for youngsters.
*
And now Ford has what they believe is a better idea. Inflatable seat belts for back seat passengers have been in testing for eight years, and will be an option on the 2011 Ford Explorer. The device is a combination of seat belts and airbags, like the inflatable seat belts used on some airplanes. The belts do not inflate unless the front or side airbags are deployed. The advantages of such a system are that it eliminates the danger to children that front-seat style airbags pose, because the bags are already fitted around the child's chest area. They also cover a larger area, whether deployed or not, which will spread the force of an impact and cause less injury from the belt itself than conventional seat belts. And the inflatable belts are more comfortable than conventional belts, which may lead more back seat passengers to buckle up.

Ford says that the system will be available on other models soon after its debut in their new model Explorer. Sure, you can expect the seat belts to add to the vehicle's price, but safety features are worth it even if they are never used, especially compared to other options on which we spend hundreds of dollars.

Update: Wes Sherwood of Ford Motor Company appeared in the comments to address some concerns.

The rear inflatable belts deploy sideaways and away from the occupant with cold gas technology. Since the belt already is on the occupant, the inflatable belt will deploy slower than traditional air bags that use different gases to deploy the air bags quick enough to make up the distance from the occupant.

We recommend customers use the LATCH anchors -- standard in all of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury North American vehicles -- to restrain child seats as recommended by the U.S. government. We also tested the new rear inflatable seat belts in many ways, including with a variety of front- and rear-facing child seats and booster seats, and did not find any cause for concern. We even tested a crash dummy that simulated a child sleeping with their head on the seat belt as the inflatable belt deploys and found no issues.

The inflatable belts will not deploy if they're not buckled. However, there is no on/off switch because we have not seen in our testing a situation that would require such a feature.

Ford currently offers seat sensing technology in the front passenger seat, not rear seats.

Thank you again for the opportunity to join the discussion.

Original image
Spéciale
arrow
Live Smarter
Improve Your Chopping Skills With This Knife-Cutting Board Hybrid
Original image
Spéciale

Chopping ingredients properly is an impressive skill, and for those who haven’t mastered it yet, this part of the cooking process can be a pain. Luckily, it is possible to do your slicing and dicing without the awkward hand positions and frequent slip-ups. All you need is a knife that stays attached to the board where you’re doing the cutting.

Spotted over at Mashable, spéciale is a high-quality walnut cutting board that comes with a 17-inch Damascus steel knife built in. Whether you’re breaking down fruits, vegetables, cheese, or charcuterie, the blade can rotate across the board as you cut while the tip stays fixed in place. This leaves one hand free, so you don’t have to pause to put down your glass of wine before the chopping starts.

The designers focused on aesthetics along with functionality, so when the board is not being used in the kitchen it doubles as a serving platter. And after you’ve had a chance to enjoy the fruit of your labors, you can pop the knife off the board for easy clean-up.

Spéciale recently wrapped up a campaign on Kickstarter where it raised more than $150,500, and prior to that it debuted on Indiegogo, where it raised nearly $170,000. The product is still available to order through the Indiegogo page for $195.

[h/t Mashable]

Original image
Retro Games Limited
arrow
fun
The Commodore 64 Will Return as a Mini Console With Dozens of Games
Original image
Retro Games Limited

Today’s video games may be more innovative than ever, but that doesn’t stop many from returning to the old-school games that remind them of their childhood. Following Nintendo’s massive success with the NES Classic in 2016 and the SNES Classic in September, the Commodore 64 is set to be the next vintage gaming device to get a miniature makeover. As Nerdist reports, Retro Games Limited will release a plug-and-play version of the 1982 bestseller in 2018.

The C64 Mini will be half the size of the original Commodore 64 computer and will feature 64 retro 8-bit titles, including Impossible Mission, Armalyte, Paradroid, and California Games. The kit will include a joystick, an HDMI cable for hooking up the console to your TV, and a USB power cable for charging it.

The console will have two USB ports that can be used to connect an extra joystick or plug in a full-sized keyboard to use the C64 Mini for simple coding. This could be especially useful when you get bored of the pre-loaded games and want to program a new one of your own from scratch.

The C64 Mini is set to retail for around $70 when it hits shelves in 2018, making it $10 cheaper than the newly-released SNES classic. Retro Games also plans to revive a full-sized version of the original Commodore 64 to sell in 2018. For an idea of what that might look like, check out this classic Commodore 64 how-to video from 1982.

[h/t Nerdist]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios