CLOSE
Original image
YouTube / XCARFilms

A Brief History of the Ford Model T

Original image
YouTube / XCARFilms

Henry Ford's famous Model T was first produced in 1908 and quickly became a kind of default American car; at one point the Model T accounted for half the cars in the U.S.

Although the Model T (nicknamed the "Tin Lizzie") was not the first consumer car, nor the cheapest, nor even the first assembly-lined-produced car, it was arguably the best combination of these elements. Ford made a sturdy car that could deal with the incredibly crappy roads of the time, at a price that regular people could conceivably afford. His innovations with assembly line manufacturing further drove the price down and improved wages for his factory workers.

But what's it like to drive a Model T? In the video below, XCAR takes us on a combination history/driving lesson. After the historical bits (including amazing footage of the Model T going off-road with ease), presenter Alex Goy explains just how hard it is to drive a 1915 model (yes, a 100-year-old car is still on the road!). Indeed, he spends the latter half of the video driving it while explaining things, and the layout of the car seems insane by today's standards—the pedal placement is the opposite of what we're used to today, and many important controls are in weird places (watch to see what they put in the place you'd expect a turn signal lever to be).

If you have twelve minutes for a trip back in time, enjoy this 100-year-old Model T and its history:

Related: 10 Henry Ford Facts (That Have Almost Nothing to Do With Cars); World War I Centennial: Ford Introduces Assembly Line; and The Flying Flivver: Henry Ford's Attempt to Make Us All Pilots.

(Via The Kid Should See This.)

Original image
Courtesy Umbrellium
arrow
Design
These LED Crosswalks Adapt to Whoever Is Crossing
Original image
Courtesy Umbrellium

Crosswalks are an often-neglected part of urban design; they’re usually just white stripes on dark asphalt. But recently, they’re getting more exciting—and safer—makeovers. In the Netherlands, there is a glow-in-the-dark crosswalk. In western India, there is a 3D crosswalk. And now, in London, there’s an interactive LED crosswalk that changes its configuration based on the situation, as Fast Company reports.

Created by the London-based design studio Umbrellium, the Starling Crossing (short for the much more tongue-twisting STigmergic Adaptive Responsive LearnING Crossing) changes its layout, size, configuration, and other design factors based on who’s waiting to cross and where they’re going.

“The Starling Crossing is a pedestrian crossing, built on today’s technology, that puts people first, enabling them to cross safely the way they want to cross, rather than one that tells them they can only cross in one place or a fixed way,” the company writes. That means that the system—which relies on cameras and artificial intelligence to monitor both pedestrian and vehicle traffic—adapts based on road conditions and where it thinks a pedestrian is going to go.

Starling Crossing - overview from Umbrellium on Vimeo.

If a bike is coming down the street, for example, it will project a place for the cyclist to wait for the light in the crosswalk. If the person is veering left like they’re going to cross diagonally, it will move the light-up crosswalk that way. During rush hour, when there are more pedestrians trying to get across the street, it will widen to accommodate them. It can also detect wet or dark conditions, making the crosswalk path wider to give pedestrians more of a buffer zone. Though the neural network can calculate people’s trajectories and velocity, it can also trigger a pattern of warning lights to alert people that they’re about to walk right into an oncoming bike or other unexpected hazard.

All this is to say that the system adapts to the reality of the road and traffic patterns, rather than forcing pedestrians to stay within the confines of a crosswalk system that was designed for car traffic.

The prototype is currently installed on a TV studio set in London, not a real road, and it still has plenty of safety testing to go through before it will appear on a road near you. But hopefully this is the kind of road infrastructure we’ll soon be able to see out in the real world.

[h/t Fast Company]

Original image
Hoversurf
arrow
technology
Dubai Plans to Outfit Police Force With Hoverbikes
Original image
Hoversurf

Dubai is home to plenty of flashy fashion and architecture, and it has over-the-top police gear to match. The department already is outfitted with some of the fastest cars on the streets, including a Ferrari and a Lamborghini. Now, Autoblog reports that police officers in the United Arab Emirates city are getting hoverbikes to access hard-to-reach places.

The bikes, which were developed by the Russian startup Hoversurf, debuted in early October at the Gulf Information Technology Exposition (GITEX) in Dubai. Like Hoversurf’s Scorpion-3 hoverbike, the police version is battery-powered and uses propellers at each corner to float like a drone. The newly-released model can reach maximum altitudes of 16 feet and move at speeds of up to 43 mph. Though the quadcopter can only carry one passenger at a time, it can withstand weights of up to 660 pounds. A fully charged battery is enough to fuel a 25-minute ride.

The futuristic addition to the force’s fleet of vehicles isn’t designed for chasing bad guys. Rather, the city hopes to use it to reach out-of-the-way spots during emergencies. If there’s a car wreck at the end of a traffic jam, for example, the Scorpion hoverbike could simply fly over the congestion and reach the scene faster than the department could with cars on the ground.

While cities around the world are still figuring out how low-flying drones and vehicles fit into pedestrian areas, Dubai has been quick to embrace the technology. In 2015, the city invested in jetpacks for first responders. While it's still unclear when the gadgets will be used in an official capacity, the CEO of Hoversurf has confirmed that mass production of the bikes is already underway.

[h/t Autoblog]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios