251 innovations

Smart brake lights for cars

It's only taken about a million years, but someone has finally decidedthat improvements are possible in automobile braking lights. Studentsfrom Virginia Tech have developed a new system that can show not justwhether you're stopping, but if you're slowing down, when you're aboutto stop, and how quickly you're pressing the pedal. The concept uses anarray of horizontally arranged LED lights -- when you begin to slow,lights in the center glow orange, after a certain threshold side lightsturn to red, and if you're slamming on the brake, they'll all flashred. The team, led by mechanical engineering Professor Mehdi Ahmadian,has plans for the system beyond the lab, though they speculate that itwill be easier to add them as additional indicators on commercialvehicles at first. If this pans out, someday soon we may all betailgating a totally psychedelic light show.

Source: engadget.comAdded: 7 April 2008