Alert reader Steve was cruising through the nicholsclan archives and ran across the essay titled Digital Cars. He dropped me a note which I thought had a really cool idea in it. He says…

A few years ago, I was talking to some friends about the “marshmallowing” cars; you know, the smoothing out of the lines, the sacrificing of individual style in the name of better aerodynamics, etc. We figured that by 2020, we would be driving whirring, homogenous-looking blobs that were completely devoid of any interesting features and would leave millions of tinkerers in a state of depression. I offered up an idea to keep things interesting in the new boring car; a digital windshield and soundsystem that was connected to the drive system that, even though you were driving the vehicular equivalent of a microwave oven you could look through your digital windshield over the hood of whatever car struck your fancy. Big, gas-guzzling Cadillac? Exotic sportscar? How about the nose cone of an F-17 fighter jet? Just download the view from a software package and change your operating environment. Maybe there could be a design package that allows you to create your own “machine” along with an engine/rumble pack. It wouldn’t be the same as actually getting in there with the wrenches, but maybe it would somewhat satisfy the sensory input we are losing in these days of fuel efficiency. The same type of thing has been introduced to the world of the electric guitar (amp modeling), I think it may be in the cards for the automobile. Something to think about, or dismiss entirely…

I’ll race you to the patent office…

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