For anyone who's ever taken a motorcycle and "chopped" it, do we have a website for you! A professor from University of Missouri-Rolla, Mike Hilgers and a group of his senior computer science students, have built a site that allows users modify a motorcycle's design. The site is a result of a grant from Honda, which will then use the information gathered on the site in a redesign of the Honda Shadow.
While Hilgers stresses the site is still at the "prototype level", the idea of the Blueprint for a Bike site (http://www.umr.edu/~honda ) is to use the Internet, he says, "to measure the impact of design changes related to the image a motorcycle creates and to offer a quantitative measure of effects of the change. That is, I wanted to be able to make a statement, such as 'lowering the seat an inch will increase the appeal of the bike design by 14.5%.'"
The site works by manipulation of sample blueprints of a Honda Shadow. Users drag certain parts of the bike—front wheel, seat, and handle bars—to redesign some of the basic features to suit their personal vision of a motorcycle they'd like to ride. When finished, they hit the submit button. The modifications are recorded and will be assessed by Honda designers using intelligent system concepts.