[bct] Re: more on hybrid cars

  • From: "Reed Poynter" <Reed.Poynter@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 9 May 2006 09:30:41 -0700

Hi Neal,

I'm not sure that these silent phantoms pose any more of a threat than the
gas guzzlers.  When I'm travelling in a crowded downtown street, I think,
that I most often find it very difficult to distinguish the sound of an
individual vehicle from the overall noise.  With noisy trucks, buses and
motor cycles, echoing off of the surrounding buildings, with the overall
noise level being so high relative to the sound of an individual vehicle,
you very often can't hear an individual car coming towards you.  I am not
sure that it would make any difference if it is a conventional car or one of
these silent phantoms.  

Might it be the case that as we have more of these hybrids (including
trucks, buses and motor cycles), the overall noise level will fall and the
sound of these cars relative to the overall noise level will be the same as
the gas guzzler is relative to the overall noise level today.

In Vancouver, B.C., some of the buses are electric.  I can remember years
ago (when I was young and invincible), hitchHiking on a downtown street.  I
was standing on the edge of the sidewalk with my right hand sticking out,
thumb wagging and one of these buses flew past and hit my hand.  It didn't
hurt too much.  But, I had to go home to change my pants.       

Having been clipped by one, I'm more concerned about bicycles.  I think we
have to pass a law that requires bike riders to whistle as they ride.  I'm
not sure what we can do about those who whistle off tune. 

Our first 2 kids have grown and left home and the third will be soon on his
way.  So, we'll be abandoning the old van and looking for something smaller.
My wife thinks that she'd seriously consider a hybrid.  I guess I'll have to
teach her to whistle too.

I really enjoyed your podcast on the subject.

-----Original Message-----
From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Neal Ewers
Sent: 2006/05/09 07:37
To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bct] Re: more on hybrid cars

Rick, you are right about the canes.  If this is something organizations for
the blind do, it would cost us a lot.  But I wouldn't be so sure about what
the auto manufacturers would pay for.  The mistake we sometimes make is to
only think about people who are blind.  One thing I learned at Trace is that
you need to make a case for something being universally needed.  Perhaps it
is not needed by every person on the planet, but what about older people who
have some sight loss?  As soon as a little old Grand Mother of an auto
executive is almost clobbered by one of these silent phantoms, I bet you
will see some action.  There are a lot more people with  age related vision
problems than the small percent of those who are totally blind.  This is a
problem for more people than I think we realize, and the more people for
whom it is a problem, the more likely we are to find a solution.  What we
don't need is some backward thinking blind person inventing a device that
will cost a thousand dollars.  Now, auto companies no longer have to worry
about people who are blind.  They will just buy that expensive device and
they will be safe.  And the company who makes the device will be very rich
and we will be the poorer.


-----Original Message-----
From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Rick Harmon
Sent: Tuesday, May 09, 2006 9:27 AM
To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bct] Re: more on hybrid cars

Hi Neal,

Who will pay for all this technical stuff. receivers in canes?  That would
most likely cost the user hundreds of dollars wouldn't it?  I know we are
blind and should have certain guarantied rights but I doubt we are going to
be able to force the automobile industry into putting millions of beepers or
transmitters on their cars for the limited number of blind users that it

will impact.

Do we really have that right?  I know I would like to see any help we can
get but I am just not sure that we can expect anything like this to happen.



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"The chief handicap of the blind is not blindness, but the attitude of
seeing people towards them."
- Helen Keller, 1925

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Neal Ewers" <neal.ewers@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, May 09, 2006 10:19 AM
Subject: [bct] Re: more on hybrid cars

Dan, you're right.  a Geiger counter orgy.  OK, get out your microphones
folks, or Dan will record this first with his very expensive microphone.

The sound of one or two cars would be easily enough dealt with in this
way, but I think Dan is right.  At some point, if the beeps all sound
alike, we are in trouble.  And, even if each manufacturer had different
beeping sounds, that would still not be enough.

This is where the person with a dog may be better off than the cane

Ok, thinking off the top of my head as I write, what about having a
sensor in one's cane that would give either sounds or directional
vibrations based on where the cars with these transmitters are.  Yes, if
there is more than one car, it would be difficult, but if the
transmitters only notified you of cars at a particular distance from
you, you would only have to worry about the ones your cane was picking
up at the moment.  Not fool proof, by any means, and I wouldn't want to
be in the middle of the street when the battery in my cane decided to


-----Original Message-----
From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of The Scarlet
Sent: Tuesday, May 09, 2006 9:09 AM
To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bct] Re: more on hybrid cars

I think it could work too, Neal, but there are technical considerations
to overcome.  If, for example, there were four cars, three from your
right and one from your left, the amount of beeps could become so
tangled that you

would not be sure what was happening, just that there were cars.  We can

discriminate by ear when we hear car sounds, but if the beeps all
sounded the same, it would sound like a geiger counter orgy.

The cheapest solution is for the cars to make sound, but that probably
will not fly with the manufacturers nor the customers.  Not that I
really care about whether they like it or not, but such concerns will
drive the issue and marketplace.


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