When you close your car door, the lights may go out immediately, fade or they may stay on interminably while you stand there wondering if you closed the door all the way. Bill Bowden has devised a gadget that lets you take control of your interior lights. Bowden’s Automobile Interior Lights Fader lets you determine whether the lights go out right away, fade or stay on for a few seconds. You can even program the fade times to fast-on, slow-off or vice versa. The device’s circuit is intended for cars that have a door switch that supplies a ground to the interior lights with one side of the lights connected to the positive side of the battery through an appropriate fuse. With a few modifications, the device can also be used without a door switch.
The first vehicle I had with the delayed off was a 97 GMC van. I was unaware of this feature and looked all over the place to find how to turn the lights off. Finally I read the owners manual (instructions are only for people who do not know what they are doing) and it mentioned the delay. So I closed the door and timed the light, 13 seconds. Only after doing that several times, did I feel confident to just walk away.
Of course when one of the kids left a dome light on, no one noticed until a neighbor phoned about 4 hours later, but that is a story for another day. I like that your device allows the owner to reassume control. What a novel idea.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Microchip recently released the 3D TouchPad, the first USB PC Peripheral device that couples 2D multi-touch input with 3D air gesture technology. The company seeks the help of developers to further enhance the capabilities of the technology.
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
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