Service of Inventions II

June 18th, 2012

Categories: Automobiles, Safety


The New York Times Magazine column, “Who Made That?”–whether granola, Kraft singles or mini-golf–is such fun. It’s another take on “how is that made?” which intrigues me, whether I watch a glass blower, weaver, furniture maker or ceramist at work or shadow vinyl flooring, tiles, woven textiles or wallpaper through a plant’s manufacturing process.

bumper-damageI’d like to give a prize to the person who made a car seat vibrate to warn that something is coming so the driver has time to put on the brakes. I saw this in a car commercial the other week. This genius knows how scary it is for people who drive sedans to back out of a parking spot while sandwiched between behemoth SUVs. I am petrified I’ll hit someone or hear and or feel a crash as another driver, bent on racing through a crowded parking lot, rear ends me.

ntcautoEdward Baecher owns NTC Auto Body in Fishkill, NY [he’s the man on the right]. Baecher says that the backup camera also helps those who don’t turn around to look before backing out, but the cameras have their limits. “It’s better to turn and look left and right and not depend solely on the camera,” he advises. “With the camera you see directly behind the car but not the corners. The result? Bumper damage–all the time.”

When I continued to rave about the promise I saw for the vibrating car seat, he added: “The seatbelt was the real genius invention because it saves lives. I’ve not seen a car in the shop that’s been in a fatality in five years. When I started in this business–about 20 years ago–our shop alone would see two to three a year.”

Any inventions catch your attention lately or any tried and true devices you depend on and appreciate?


11 Responses to “Service of Inventions II”

  1. Hank Goldman Said:

    Jeanne– Great topic and great commentary.
    I have The SAME feelings each and every time i “back up” with or without camera
    in a confined space… Just Waiting For; “The THUD”?!?!
    In the “olden days” there was much more apparent glass area, and one could see all around… without electronic aids!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Big sigh of relief! I am so glad I’m not the only one–or am I the only one without an SUV?

    Short of giving sedans gigantic tires so they can grow tall enough to see through the windows of neighboring SUVs, I wish that businesses and malls would ask the SUVs to park in one area and sedans in another.

  3. Hank Goldman Said:

    and… to NOT park near corners where they OBSTRUCT Views!!

  4. ASK Said:

    You are not the only person to not own an SUV. In all the years that my husband and I drove south to our house on the Jersey shore via the turnpike and the parkway, I have seen more SUVs in accidents, either flipped over and/or burnt out, than any other type of vehicle.

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I am not surprised. For some reason, people who own SUVs don’t realize that their vehicles do what any vehicle does when driven recklessly. Same thing happens in snow and ice–I stear clear if I can.

    Jeanne to SUV drivers: Your car can slip, slide and flip like anyone else’s. Big doesn’t mean invincible. This intelligence isn’t shared with SUV drivers when they buy their cars.

  6. Lucrezia Said:

    May I suggest backing in first? Then gas guzzling tubs pose little to no threat when leaving a parking space. The way I see it, the best inventions lie in the future, having to do with successful disease prevention and space travel. Let’s think of benefiting society first. Healthy people will enjoy life, not to speak of their cars, a great deal more.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:


    When I get to a concert before everyone else does or to the railroad station before the crowd and if there is sufficient room in the parking lot to maneuver, I always try to back into a spot. Trouble is, at the grocery store, you see a spot, you have two seconds to grab it or it’s gone and there isn’t enough space to back in unless you get there at cock’s crow, before another soul is there.

    I agree with your priorities for future inventions and add healthy and prodigious food production.

  8. Deirdre Said:

    I agree with Edward Beacher about seatbelts, but I’m waiting for seatbelts 2.0 (or 3.0). When I get in a cab or car and have to attach the belt with my left hand, and the attachment piece slides down between the seat and the back, I think, someone has got to come up with a better system. And it would be lovely if the new seatbelt engineer were a female who might give some thought to the problem of the seatbelts crossing female rather than male chests, if you know what I mean. There’s got to be a better way. Another reason to encourage girls to go into engineering.

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:


    In summer, if I wear an open or lightweight top, the belt rubs my skin and it’s uncomfortable, so I hope that the engineer has this in mind when selecting the material for the belt. If I have a necklace on, that also causes conflict with the belt [though I can take it off for the ride].

    Girls should also become architects to make sure that there are more than a few bathrooms in movie theatres and other public venues.

  10. GBS Said:

    Although being by inclination and in practice something of a Luddite, I could not agree with you more about the anguish one feels when trying to back out from a parking space when sandwiched between two SUVs. I had not thought of it before, and I also agree with Mr. Baecher’s assessment that the seat belt is the most important invention to have come to the automotive industry in the past 50 years.

    The beauty of the seat belt is that is both simple and effective. I’d add that what I especially like about the seat belt is that it does not have a computer chip in it. It doesn’t need a “techie” to make it work.

    My big beef with most new inventions is that they seem, almost always, to make life more complicated. It used to be when you wanted to wake up in the morning, you wound up a “Big Ben,” set the time, pushed a button, and went to sleep. Now you have to program a computer, go through all sorts of complicated gyrations with alien “new age” names, and then you don’t go to sleep because you are not sure the darn thing will work!

  11. jeanne Byington Said:

    I’m sure I’ve been in cars in which the seat belt moves in and wraps around the passengers automatically, but not recently. Could be that they would break down a lot.

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