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Inflatable Seat Belts

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.
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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.

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Jeff Haynes, AFP/Getty Images
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Live Smarter
Now's the Best Time to Buy a KitchenAid Stand Mixer
Jeff Haynes, AFP/Getty Images
Jeff Haynes, AFP/Getty Images

Acquiring a KitchenAid stand mixer is considered a home cook's rite of passage for a reason—while endlessly useful for baking, it's also one of the more expensive gadgets you can have on your countertop. If the stand mixer's usual $260 price tag has turned you off in the past, now's the time to reconsider adding one to your kitchen. According to Cooking Light, Target is offering the standard silver 4.5-quart KitchenAid stand mixer for a special price of $190.

The standard silver KitchenAid is the classic model. It comes with a dough hook, a flat beater, and a wire whisk that can be set to one of 10 different speeds—perfect for kneading dough or whipping cream without straining an arm muscle. And if you want to spend the money you save from the deal on even more kitchen tools, you can spring for one of the many accessories that attach to the front of the mixer, like the pasta maker, the veggie spiralizer, or the meat grinder. The standard mixer, like all of KitchenAid's countertop appliances, comes with a one-year warranty.

The silver mixer isn't the only KitchenAid product on sale through Target. The KitchenAid Ultra Power Plus mixer, which normally retails for $350, is currently available for $280. With that item, buyers will have a variety of colors to choose from, including ice blue, cobalt, and red.

Looking for an even cheaper way to upgrade your kitchen? There are plenty of game-changing cooking gadgets out there that won't drain your bank account.

[h/t Cooking Light]

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Peder Norrby, YouTube
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technology
The Fun Optical Illusion You Can Make With Your iPhone X
Peder Norrby, YouTube
Peder Norrby, YouTube

You can use the iPhone X’s powerful depth sensor for more than just face recognition. The technology also allows you to create wild optical illusions on your phone. The phone’s 3D camera allowed Swedish artist Peder Norrby to create a depth illusion that makes an image on the phone look 3D, as Co.Design reports.

The app Norrby created with ARKit face tracking, TheParallaxView, uses a technique called trompe l’oeil, a style you might have seen before in the form of pavement art. It uses hyperrealistic art to give the illusion that a 2D image is really 3D.

The eye tracking makes the image move as the camera does, making it look like you’re manipulating a 3D object, either one that recesses deep into the phone or pops out from the screen. As Mark Wilson explains on Co.Design, this face tracking “allows the screen to create not just one static 3D illusion, but dozens a second, tricking your mind into believing that there’s a whole other world behind the screen of your phone.”

It’s a monoscopic effect, according to Norrby, so the illusion works particularly well in video form, but in person, you’ll need to close one eye to make it work to the same degree.

You can see how it works in the video below. Norrby has submitted the app to Apple’s App Store, but it’s still pending approval. He’s also planning on submitting the source code for developers, which means that anyone could incorporate it into their apps—which we imagine could lead to some pretty amazing video games.

[h/t Co.Design]

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