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A Dash of Engineers.

It *does* take a rocket scientist to read this dashboard.
  (+33, -1)(+33, -1)(+33, -1)
(+33, -1)
  [vote for,

I was driving down I-95 south with the cruise control set on 75mph. I was overcome with the urge to go extremely fast, but this urge was juxtaposed with an urge not to get a speeding ticket. I satiated both urges by maintaining my (usually not-ticketed) speed and switching my digital display to metric. Now, I was tearing ass down the road at a blistering 122 kph while still maintaining a steady 75mph.

As pointless as this anecdote may be, it led to the conception of the Engineer's Instrument Panel:

This option is available at the factory, or have MikeD's staff of efficient and courteous mechanics retro fit your car today.

Your speedometer will be upgraded to a velocimeter, not only indicating your speed (in meters per second) but your direction in vector format.

Your fuel level will not read as some analogue degree between archaic concepts such as Empty or Full, but a constantly updated display of the amount of potential energy (in joules) in the remaining fuel in your tank.

Your temperature gauge will be re-calibrated to display the Kelvin Scale.

We'll also install an accelerometer which logs acceleration in all three axes.

An FYI Display will (using curb weight of the vehicle) display the Kinetic Energy of the vehicle and the watts of output the engine is currently putting to the ground.

The system will also go into record-mode should any readings exceed preset parameters. In the event of an accident, you can while away the time waiting for an ambulance by thumbing through the data logged during the collision.

MikeD, Feb 13 2010

XKCD http://xkcd.com/612/
[hippo, Feb 13 2010]

Relativistic time-dilation wristwatch display Relativistic_20time...ristwatch_20display
The dashboard should include one of these displays [hippo, Feb 16 2010]

Telemetry units http://www.veypor.com/carveypor.html
already exists [metarinka, Feb 18 2010]


       Yes! And please, I'd like the custom version with indicators for vehicle mass (gross and net), tire wear (based on GPS distance vs. wheel rotation), altitude, and current local magnetic, optical, thermal and EMF fields.
csea, Feb 13 2010

       [c^2], Is that the plural form of Axis? I wasn't sure and I was too lazy to look it up, so I winged it. Our installation specialists can install displays for all your data requirements.
MikeD, Feb 13 2010

       [+] how much better/worse your vehicle would be performing with different-octaned fuel, distance to next viable pee-stop, calculated probable speedtrap locations and possible fines...
FlyingToaster, Feb 13 2010

       Yes, [FT], there is also a GPS read-out available for civil engineers. It tells you the estimated time to your destination, as well as the time it would take if the civil engineer responsible for the roadways in that district had been studying, in lieu of bonging beer and experimenting with psychedelic drugs.
MikeD, Feb 13 2010

       [MikeD] that would be a simulated calculation.
FlyingToaster, Feb 13 2010

       oh I like this + (as a former speeding ticket collector I understand the mentality of *driving fast, but not toooo fast*) this would help me to deceive myself!! haha good one and love the title! (sounded like a recipe) :)
xandram, Feb 13 2010

       Yay ! [+]   

       (Additional virtual bun for the title alone)
8th of 7, Feb 13 2010

       We must include the complex / imaginary plane somehow.   

       Are there ways we could adjust the transfer functions of the vehicle controls? 'Hmm, pedal needs a little more gain response, I think.'
RayfordSteele, Feb 13 2010

       -"Sir, do you know how fast you were going?"   

       -" 0.00000000000526 parsecs/hr?"   

       <whispers into earpiece>"Looks like we've got an AURORA situation, contact the DOD </whispers into earpiece>
leinypoo13, Feb 13 2010

       you know, you can buy an adapter cable that lets you connect a laptop to your car's OBD II port, allowing you to see all your car's sensor readings while driving.
sninctown, Feb 13 2010

       Yes, we do, and it's terribly distracting ...
8th of 7, Feb 13 2010

       An an engineering student I fully agree with this idea.   

       Velocity in metres/second please?
Mrlemonjelly, Feb 13 2010

       As an engineer I approve.   

       As an ornery bastard I demand calibration in furlongs per fortnight.
afinehowdoyoudo, Feb 13 2010

       My father-in-law, once a chemistry lab tech at GM, tells a story where he often had to deal with a particularly incorrigable union production supervisor who did not understand that the test results that he would demand took several days to run, and that if he made enough noise he'd get them faster. They got so sick of this one guy's lack of understanding that eventually they'd start providing the data in useless units, like fractions of the distance from the length to the moon, the weight in bags of cement, etc.
RayfordSteele, Feb 14 2010

       //An an engineering student I fully agree with this idea.//   

       As once-an-engineer-student I also know how helpful it would be having units of measurement (which you work with everyday in class) realized in the practical world, as well as the theoretic.   

       //furlongs per fortnight//   

       <sighs> There is one in every group.   

       //Cubits per Minute//   

       OK, there are two in every group.
MikeD, Feb 14 2010

       : ]   

       Can barely wait...   

       //OK, there are two in every group.// Not at the halfbakery. Around here, the figure is considerably higher: (Smoots per jiffy)
mouseposture, Feb 14 2010

       // the figure is considerably higher //   

       Is that expressed as a dimensionless number, or in rational units within the SI framework ?
8th of 7, Feb 14 2010

       Add biometrics, and you could display the speed in hand-seperations per heartbeat
pocmloc, Feb 14 2010

       I vote for the practical beard-second per microfortnight.
Mrlemonjelly, Feb 14 2010

       [8th] Normally, "number of people" is a unitless integer, Seeing as how this is the HALFbakery, I can see why you think rational, rather than integer. However: if you're counting halfbakers, I feel it should be both irrational and imaginary.
mouseposture, Feb 14 2010

       // hand-seperations per heartbeat //   

       What if you're a Time Lord ?
8th of 7, Feb 14 2010

       I'd like it to calculate the fractal index of your journey. It could then connect via wi-fi when you park back at home and upload the geotagged results to a website, where we could compare the average fractal indices of journeys made in different towns. I imagine older towns would have higher fractal indices than modern towns, and similarly, European towns would have higher fractal indices than American towns.   

       Town planners could also use this data as a metric of navigability.
wagster, Feb 14 2010

       // a metric of navigability //   

       But only in three dimensions (x,y,t).   

       For a more comprehensive model, apply a Laplace transform.
8th of 7, Feb 14 2010

       Ah, Laplace trasform. The lecturer that "taught" me that laughed at us one day as the class failed to come up with solutions to a tutorial - "Ha. You not know this, you FAIL! HaHa."   

       Thankfully, Fourier transform made a lot more sense.
Jinbish, Feb 14 2010

       I would like a Philosopher's Dashboard. (Features are of course too self-evident to bother describing.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 14 2010

       All of these measurements could be incorporated into a custom package ... However; I must insist that penis length not be a unit of measurement in velocity calculations.   

       Not on principle, I just can't have [8th of 7] thinking he's going twice as fast as everyone else.
MikeD, Feb 15 2010

       Milk out the nose isn't so bad, but beer just hurts.   

       //penis length// hmm, but should operators be able to go faster or slower, depending...
FlyingToaster, Feb 15 2010

       Can I get my speed displayed as a fraction of the speed of light in a vacuum? [+]
gisho, Feb 15 2010

       Only if there is a complicated 4-way selector for frames of reference, [gisho].
pocmloc, Feb 15 2010

       [pocmloc], I only wish I had a car that went fast enough for relativistic effects to be significant.
gisho, Feb 15 2010

       ... or a display with enough significant figures to show such effects at usual motoring speeds?
pocmloc, Feb 15 2010

       //Can I get my speed displayed as a fraction of the speed of light in a vacuum?//   

       Might I recommend a dial and needle gauge reading between (3.335640951 * 10^-9)c to (2.168166618 * 10^-7)c? in increments of (3.335640951 * 10^-9)c, of course.   

       //show such effects at usual motoring speeds?//   

       This could be incorporated into your FYI display. Changes in mass and time due to velocity, from an outside observers frame of reference, shirley?
MikeD, Feb 15 2010

       // fast enough for relativistic effects to be significant //   

       The novelty wears off quite quickly.   

       // show such effects at usual motoring speeds? //   

       A correctly calibrated logarithmic scale would in fact achieve this quite effectively ...
8th of 7, Feb 15 2010

       I thought it would be a collective noun
simonj, Feb 15 2010

       Splendid idea. Have some lightly baked potential energy. +
DrBob, Feb 16 2010

       [MikeD] see link
hippo, Feb 16 2010

       As another engineer, I like this alot.

       How about displaying pressure difference between the front and rear windscreens?

       Or speed expressed as a percentage of the average speed of all vehicles within a 500m stretch of road.
stupop, Feb 16 2010

       Do you include the speed of your own vehicle in the averaging process ?
8th of 7, Feb 16 2010

       Why stop at cars? We should make this information available passengers of aircraft, boats and other vehicles up to and including the tardis, it'd keep me occupied endlessly on long trips [+]
xxobot, Feb 17 2010

       Perhaps we could add external displays to each vehicle, enabling the passengers of other vehicles to read and compare.   

       Like an endless game of 'Top Trumps' for the kids.   

       I'm not sure about giving drivers all this distraction. Data loggers used on race cars already collect all this kind of information, but record it for review later.
Twizz, Feb 17 2010

       //make this information available passengers of aircraft//   

       Absolutely! That would, indeed be some very interesting figures.   

       //giving drivers all this distraction//   

       Yeah. I'd just be happy with a speedometer that read in meters per second ... but the whole thing kind of snow-balled from there ...
MikeD, Feb 17 2010

       google telemetry systems for cars or motorcycles, already use them for race cars and motorcycles, you can buy one for a few hundred bucks.   

       G-force, acceleration in all axis, wheel speed, hp, fuel consumption. etc etc. it's all there.
metarinka, Feb 18 2010

       There's a guy who'll build you a display of all kinds of data that plugs into the OBD-II port under your dash. Modern cars are monitoring all kinds of stuff, and making thousands of adjustments per second. It might be even geekier-cool to have a bunch of wires and displays screwed onto custom-machined mounts all over your dash, so you could pretend you're monitoring live data for research (why pretend, you actually could do it).   

       Off the top of my head, from my 2000 VW TDI some of the parameters available through OBD-II (ok, well it's a VW-enhanced interface that actually requires a bit of software to parse, but it's easy):

throttle position,
incoming fuel temperature,
egr %,
charge air pressure, in bar (turbo boost),
atmospheric pressure,
mass air flow (at the intake),
---a: requested,
---b: actual,
crank position,
fuel injection timing,
fuel injection quantity,
---a: requested,
---b: actual,
OK, top of my head depleted.


       also has all the usual:
coolant temp,
road speed,
fuel consumption (liters per kilometer),


       there are at least 75 more parameters, but I'd have to fire up my laptop and log into the car's computers to get a list.


       The point is, it's pretty easy stuff for any decent engineer to geek out on the data and design displays that chart all this stuff. You can make live graphs of fuel quantinty/speed/mass airflow/ over time and actually capture and compare the data to diagnose problems with your car, import to excel and graph. We do it all the time over at tdiclub.com.
oxen crossing, Feb 19 2010

       Cool. It's only a short step from having the laptop monitoring the car, to building that screen into the dash and having it draw lots of pretty graphs.
wagster, Feb 19 2010

       //at least 75 more parameters//   

       This isn't so much about more data, but presenting the data in a manner more compatible with physics problems.
MikeD, Feb 19 2010

       OK, point taken. Typical feature creep, my apologies.   

       But still, it's fun and actually useful to be able to monitor any different data streams you need to, without having to balance a laptop on the passenger seat with cables snaking over your lap. Different idea, I admit, but related.
oxen crossing, Feb 19 2010

       Why would it use curb weight of the vehicle when displaying kinetic energy? Wouldn't it be better to measure the displacement of the suspension, and use that calculate the actual vehicle mass?   

       Also, why only display linear acceleration -- I want to know my vehicle's angular acceleration around the roll, pitch, and yaw axes.   

       And regarding the measurement of joules of fuel in the tank... Does all gasoline have the same number of joules per kilo? And, do you intend to include thermometer in the fuel tank? Remember, a conventional fuel gauge measures only volume of fuel, and gasoline changes density with temperature.
goldbb, Feb 22 2010

       //displacement of the suspension, and use that calculate the actual vehicle mass// This would only measure the weight, though I suppose a GPS unit could be used in conjunction with a database of local gravitational variation.
pocmloc, Feb 22 2010

       // Does all gasoline have the same number of joules per kilo? //   

       No. At a minimum, both 1-dimethy-4-dimethylbutane and 2-dimethy-3-dimethylbutane have different enthalpies of combustion to straight chain octane, and each other.
8th of 7, Feb 22 2010


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