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Epaulet Indicators

Curtail Corridor Confusion
  (+31, -6)(+31, -6)(+31, -6)
(+31, -6)
  [vote for,
against]

Picture the following scenario. I'm walking down a corridor, toward another person coming the other way. Which way will he go? Left or right? *I just don't know*! But wait! He's wearing "Epaulet Indicators"(TM, Pat. pend. etc.), he's indicating left! Thus collision and confusion are averted and we pass with no need for embarrasing dances as we negotiate the confluence.
SammyTheSnake, Oct 27 2004

Arbiter circuits for asynchronous computers http://sciam.com/ar...ageNumber=4&catID=2
[Worldgineer, Oct 27 2004]

TCAS http://www.honeywelltcas.com/
[Klaatu, Oct 28 2004]

Maritime signal flags http://www.themeter...ical+flags+meanings
Should be applied to everyday life too. [oneoffdave, Oct 28 2004]

(?) Reinforced Epaulettes http://www.hthughes.../medical/index.html
Overalls in your choice of fire retardant fabrics, all with reinforced epaulettes. [oneoffdave, Nov 01 2004]

(??) Head Blinkers http://www.stupid.com/stat/BLNK.html
Directional signals for your ears. [waugsqueke, Dec 05 2004]

[link]






       Needs a, wide load, reverse beeping function.   

       Also needs the faclity to flash somone so they know that you are letting them go first.
oneoffdave, Oct 27 2004
  

       *insert poor-taste "flashing" joke here*   

       I like it. Plus, it has the added bonus of forcing everyone to wear shirts with epaulets, which seem to have been lost to everyone but the military and the Boy Scouts.
shapu, Oct 27 2004
  

       [shapu] As it happens, I'm wearing epaulets right now, I nicked this shirt of my grandad and if I could find more like it I'd pay fifty quid a pop because I haven't ironed it in several years and you *just* *can't* *tell*... Sam "SammyTheSnake" Penny
SammyTheSnake, Oct 27 2004
  

       This problem has bothered me for quite some time.   

       When I go shopping down the busy shopping centre, I'm always nearly walking into people. As soon as myself and the offending person are face to face, we try to walk out of each other's way. But they're always thinking what I'm thinking. She'll move right, and I'll move right. So surely if I move left, it's problem solved. But no, she'll move left too. I need to think two steps ahead, so I move right, but she's pre-empted my move. Nervous laughing ensues and the problem persists, until I just pick her up by her waist, pivot 180 degrees and put her back down.   

       But I've also noticed that the problem only ever occurs when I become concious of it being a problem. People tend to naturally drift out of each other's way when in semi-crowded areas like a shopping centre. I don't have any real evidence for this, it's just something I've noticed.   

       Anyway, welcome. +
spiritualized, Oct 27 2004
  

       I've noticed this too. In England there seems to be an unwritten code that you pass on the left, so that each passee has the other on their right. You would think this would solve the problem, but in fact it only translates it sideways. When two people approach head-on or slightly to the left, they will both veer left. But when they approach slightly to the right, the dance will still occur.   

       Not thinking too hard about it does help though.
wagster, Oct 27 2004
  

       All foot traffic should use sailing rules. Correction only required if you're not making or losing trees. Walker being passed has right-of-way. Less manouverable walker has right-of-way. Always pass port-to-port when passing head-on and collision is possible (at least in the US). Changes in course should be made such that intentions are clear (no small corrections).   

       This being said, yours sounds like a good solution in an unstandardized walking world.
Worldgineer, Oct 27 2004
  

       How about a universal hand gesture, such as pointing toward the direction you want your opponent to move? People would be uncomfortable with it at first, but it would eventually make things a lot easier.
spiritualized, Oct 27 2004
  

       If you pointed left I'd assume that meant you were going to go left, and I'd go right. The problem with universal hand gestures is making them universal.
Worldgineer, Oct 27 2004
  

       "he's indicating left!" - his or yours?   

       And woe be the left-indicator epaulet wearer who comes cross a right-indicator epaulet wearer... t'would be a tragic sight to see
luecke, Oct 27 2004
  

       //The problem with universal hand gestures is making them universal.//   

       Funny, never been a problem for me
theircompetitor, Oct 27 2004
  

       Here's an idea. Have Epaulet Indicators communicate wirelessly, and build in an arbiter circuit (link). Then when your turn signal clashes with someone else's turn signal, your direction will be decided for you.
Worldgineer, Oct 27 2004
  

       World, I thought about that, but as I typed I did the hand gesture, and it felt as though I was ordering my opposition to turn the direction that my hand was pointing in.   

       Sorry, it's a tricky idea for me to articulate.
spiritualized, Oct 27 2004
  

       I guess there could be a 4-gesture system that would be unambiguous. Point at them, point left. Point at yourself, point right. Might look silly though. And there's the problem of them doing the opposite at the same time.
Worldgineer, Oct 27 2004
  

       I had to give this a bun. +
Nontaigne, Oct 28 2004
  

       Well, if we're going to go this far, can I get running light epaulets so that I can show that I'm sitting adjacent to a walkway, but please don't step on me?   

       Also emergency flasher epaulets, so when I have drunk to immobility I can signal myself as disabled at the side of the pathway.   

       Lastly, brights and dims, for those dark corridors?
normzone, Oct 28 2004
  

       another fine solution to one of the world's most challenging issues (+).
neilp, Oct 28 2004
  

       Maybe I think about these things too much, but on the whole gesture thing, I have previously though that you could just point your head and maybe even body toward the direction you intend to turn (walking slightly sideways for a moment) which has the advantage of not looking like you're pointing to where you'd like your dancing partner to turn...   

       Come to think of it, even that wouldn't work. Imagine somebody's coming toward you with their right shoulder slightly forward, you might think they're heading for a slink-sideways-through-the-gap manoeuvre, right-shoulder-first, rather than the intended, I'm turning left.   

       I think the head has to be the better choice.
SammyTheSnake, Oct 28 2004
  

       TCAS epaulets. I love it! [+]
Klaatu, Oct 28 2004
  

       Nice to see that I'm not the only one who applies the rules of the sea to foot traffic [World]. Of course I should be flying the 'D' Flag most of the time. [link]
oneoffdave, Oct 28 2004
  

       Heh. I know singles who need a G flag, perhaps combined with a Q flag. R flag would only be needed in strange circumstances, generally involving dark narrow corridors.
Worldgineer, Oct 28 2004
  

       This appears to me to be a(nother) system to help people avoid greeting one another pleasantly and interacting. [-].
bpilot, Oct 31 2004
  

       What happens when people signal to move towards the same side at the same time? They both change signals to go the (same) opposite side, apologise, change signals again. It will be like those roof top sirens you see on some police cars.   

       With or without epaulets, there needs to be someone who'll stop and wait for the other person to make a decision before moving from there. That or we can learn aikido and just flip people quickly and gently out of the way.
teh_ice, Nov 01 2004
  

       Magnets. Giant magnets.
Detly, Nov 01 2004
  

       Isn't this already baked in military services all over the world? The little gold stripes / stars / oak leaves / crescents are instantly understood as meaning "Get out of my way."...although this doesn't seem to work of the person is also wearing cowabunga shorts and Jandals.
ConsulFlaminicus, Nov 01 2004
  

       These face-offs are a terrible thing, because they lead to social friction, each of the stalemated duo keeping a civil, yet put-upon smile, while thinking, “what a blooming idiot!” But the fault actually lies within, with the collision avoidance system hardwired into our brains. It was developed in the Pliocene, when the things to avoid weren’t moving all that fast—like trees and rocks. Even so, it usually works in crowds, as long as the oncoming person-hazard doesn’t have exactly the same reflexes. Thus, ectomorphs rarely face-off with endomorphs, adults rarely with children, etcetera.

Being of medium height and build, I was at great statistical risk. I tried many solutions (like a gorilla suit—too hot!) before realizing I’d never had a face-off with a blind man. Of course! So now I leave my glasses in my pocket and wander down the mall, arms extended, not able to see anyone except as vague shapes. And miraculously, I never bump into anyone!
ldischler, Nov 01 2004
  

       When I was a kid I asked my dad what the epaulette things were and he said that if a soldier or sailor was ever lost at sea, the recscue helicopter would attach ropes to his shoulders and air lift him to safety. At the age of 7 this seamed perfectly reasonable.   

       Unfortunatley it still seemed reasonable to me when I was 15 and repeated this pearl of wisdom to a group of friends.... resulting in weeks of peer torture.
etherman, Nov 01 2004
  

       Do not dispair [etherman]. The epaulettes on racing drivers' clothing and on the jump-suits for rescue personnel are reinforced for just this reason. [link].
oneoffdave, Nov 01 2004
  

       <oneoffdave> you have extinguished a childhood nightmare forever. many thanks. I shall now e-mail my , by now protly and be-morgaged friends to rub their face in the fact that I was (almost) right. And I suppose I should start talking to my dad again. It has been 20 years.
etherman, Nov 01 2004
  

       The person to the other's right has the right of way... that's how it works in airplanes anyway.
zigness, Nov 01 2004
  

       Boats / ships pass with their port(left) sides facing. Hmmm interesting difference.
etherman, Nov 01 2004
  

       Beware taxiing float planes.
Worldgineer, Nov 01 2004
  

       or floating taxis
etherman, Nov 01 2004
  

       If taxiing a float plane, most certainly beware of floating taxis.
david_scothern, Nov 02 2004
  

       What's taxing about float planes?
egbert, Nov 02 2004
  

       All the floating.
Worldgineer, Nov 02 2004
  

       You've got it all wrong! This problem could easily be solved with a quick game of RoShamBo (rock paper scissors). Loser must stand still until the winner has walked past him/her without further ado.
Machiavelli, Nov 02 2004
  

       +, but couldn't you just go right (or left in UK)
-----, Nov 02 2004
  

       I actually get a kick out of the "dance". It gives me a chance to laugh with a total stranger.
dentworth, Nov 02 2004
  

       Me too, it's a great chance to be yourself in public. [-] for trying to destroy such a wonderful thing.
zen_tom, Nov 02 2004
  

       No vote, but I admit to enjoying the dance as well. It proves something, but I'm not sure what, but that fact and the dance itself both make me laugh.
absterge, Dec 07 2004
  

       Love the link, [waugs].
Worldgineer, Dec 07 2004
  

       //you could just point your head and maybe even body toward the direction you intend to turn //   

       This is how people tend to signal where they are going if they aren't thinking about it. When I was in school we tricked people with this. By looking a little in the opposite direction to the one you intend to move you can artificially start a dance.
stilgar, May 10 2005
  

       When I partake in a long bout I often look the stanger in the eye and say: "One last dance then I really must go." Usually cuts the tension so much they laugh and we start a convo. Its a lame way to make friends, but hey, you hang out at the HB right?
Blumster, May 10 2005
  

       Just move to the right people. I actually deal with sort of thing every single day in grand central. There are some rules to follow:   

       1. No one owns their path. 2. The slower walking person has the right of way. (I've thought about this long and hard. However as someone who walks fast I realize that it would be wrong for me to just walk into someone walking slower and I can't expect people to move out of my way) 3. If someone bumps into you from any way other than directly into your front, it is ALWAYS their fault. 4. If you bump into someone front to front it is both parties fault. If the other person is the opposite sex and attractive you flirt with them. 5. In the event of head on collision move to the right. If moving to the right is not an option for one or both parties you are to freeze and cry for help. 6. Let people off the train first! I'm digressing...
SpocksEyebrow, May 10 2005
  

       [SpocksEyebrow] Yep, you have spent some time on this one! I got a good laugh at #5.   

       I have noticed that people here (US) tend to stay to the right like when driving.   

       Sea rules would work if everyone knew them, but I would guess most don't. They would HOPEFULLY know which side of the street people drive on so maybe that is more universal.   

       {If they don't know which side we should feel free to run them over}
37PiecesOf Flair, May 12 2005
  

       I'm going to give this idea a fishbone. The only way this will work is if the two indicators communicate and agree on how to change vectors. Otherwise someone will indicate left and the other person will indicate left at the same time. We already indicate which way we are going with subtle body movements and that doesn't work, why would this idea?   

       Not to be harsh or anything....
SpocksEyebrow, May 13 2005
  

       //someone will indicate left and the other person will indicate left at the same time//
The reason this won't be a problem [SpocksEyebrow] is that the Epaulet Indicators will light up before the turn is actually made, giving the mutual left-turners time to work out who turns first and avoid the dreading "freeze, you first, no you, both try to go, refreeze, after you, no I insist, nervous smile, how silly, you go, I go, both stop again, exasperated laugh this is getting stupid..." routine.
DocBrown, May 13 2005
  

       Kinda baked in Captain Scarlet - their epaulettes flashed to indicate incoming communications from Cloudbase.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 13 2005
  

       Or, for those not into epaulettes: earring turn signals.
FlyingToaster, Jul 16 2013
  
      
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