HCI blog

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Honey, scrape the ice!

Nowadays, every morning on my way to university, I see men and women frantically scraping the frost off their windscreens. They try everything from pouring hot water to anti-freeze sprays. I noticed that all of these methods are time consuming and the driver has to stand out in the freezing cold in order to do them. Also, scraping and pouring hot water on the windscreen can damage the glass.

On another note, in this day and age we are increasingly getting use to a mobile lifestyle. Satellites, which are hundreds of miles away, can be re-aligned and commanded to follow new orbits, and nuclear missiles can be launched from a remote location. Similarly, coming back to our point, if remote assistance in the form of e-mail or text messaging (from a mobile) could be incorporated in domestic vehicles, life would be easier. E.g. imagine this….

You wake up and it’s a winter morning. The forecasters have predicted that there will be sub zero temperatures, there is a high probability of frost, you have to leave your house by 8 am and you are really tight on schedules (i.e. No time for scraping and spraying anti freeze). So, you take your mobile phone and text in “Unfreeze. Inside temperature = 22 oC. Clear Windscreen. Set 8 am GMT”. This message is sent to a smart chip in your car which then authenticates the message and your mobile number. It follows the instructions and also sends you confirmation in a form of a delivery report “Request Accepted”. Then the smart chip automatically sets up the above requirements of the user “Unfreezes the frost using inbuilt heaters, the inside temperature gets set to 22 oC, finally the wipers clear the windscreens and another text message is sent for completion of task. You leave your house at exactly 8 am and what do you find? Your car is all set to go. One could use similar remote control instructions in the scorching summers and other various weather conditions. Won’t that be wonderful?

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