Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Intra-car communication

Allow occupants of a car to easily communicate with each other.
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Three or more people journeying together in a car, will normally, and naturally wish to converse.
Unfortunately, unless you happen to be lucky enough to be in a stretch limo, the arrangement of seats makes this rather difficult. Instead of sitting around a common focal point, all conversees are facing in the same direction.
This is particularly annoying for people sitting in the back, as it is often difficult to hear what people in the front are saying (unless front seat occupants crane their neck around to address you directly - uncomfortable for the front passenger, downright dangerous for the driver). A single passenger in the back can often be found moving their head into the gap between the front seats to talk, and when there is more than one rear passenger, they will tend to give up and have their own conversation to save hassle.

I am proposing a simple microphone/loudspeaker system, similar to that used in taxi-cabs when there is a partition between front and rear. Most modern cars are already fitted with four loudspeakers for the stereo system, so to save expense these can be used. Microphones fitted at head height in all four corners of the car would be wired through to the speaker at the opposite corner (to help prevent feedback), or possibly wired to the speaker in front of/behind the speaker. Either arrangement would not only help general conversation, but automatically simulate the natural loudening of one's voice as heard by the recipient, when turning one's head towards the source of their voice.
Lemon, Oct 11 2001

Inter-car communication http://www.halfbake...car_20communication
Related halfbaked idea. [hippo, Oct 11 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

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       It's only a matter of time before someone suggests "Infra-Car Communication" explaining a device which allows communication with people clinging onto the underside of your car
hippo, Oct 11 2001
  

       Heh. I'd been intending to bung this idea up for a while, but kept forgetting until your mention of Inter-car communication reminded me, hence the derivative name.
Lemon, Oct 11 2001
  

       This would also allow the driver to talk to people in the back without turning around, which has to be a good idea.
pottedstu, Oct 11 2001
  

       croissant, croissant, croissant... it would make car conversations effort free!
The_Englishman_Abroad, Oct 11 2001
  

       Obviously, you are not a parent with young children.
kimsgems, Oct 11 2001
  

       I'm not convinced there is a European car in existence that is large enough to make a loudspeaker system necessary for conversation...
fnord_23, Oct 11 2001
  

       An alternative the the speaker system would be to use the same sort of setup that is used in helicopters - headsets with built-in microphones. That way anyone in the car who doesnt want to hear other conversations can just unplug themselves, or switch over to the radio/cd/tape/whatever...
ManicHawk, Oct 12 2001
  

       You're right [kimsgems], I'm not a parent with young children. I did consider them though, feeling it would probably be unnecessary to detail the existence of an on/off switch.
Lemon, Oct 12 2001
  

       Someone I know has a mini-van in which the two middle seats can turn all the way around to allow a real conversation between the middle and back seats' occupants. Of course, this excludes the front seats, but that's okay for parents who want to have seperate conversations.........   

       Anyway, I like this idea-- croissant for you, Lemon.
Galileo, Oct 12 2001
  

       I would use this for dropping people off at their destination while carpooling. Ahem.."Now arriving at 316 Maple Street. Doors opening on the left side.." Or perhaps it would make you a good tour guide- Ahem.. "And now on the right side of the vehicle we see the local transient eating from the trash"
Jscotty, Jan 27 2006
  

       What about a 2nd mirror above the rear view, that is semi-circular to faciliatate a focal point so all 4 people could see eye to eye added to the mix?
Giblet, Jan 28 2006
  

       I dont know that this isnt baked in new cars, but what will make this idea take off is envelope/compression software. We use this at my workplace as part of a loop amplification system that id meant to allow people who are hard of hearing to participate in meetings. The system selectively amplifies peoples voices so that they are always at the same volume everywhere in the space. This is an odd experience especially for those who are used to either being always louder or softer than others because they are all of the sudden at the same volume as others. This can have odd effects on the social dynamic. Another plugin that will make this take off will be the addition of the software that was developed to aid in the correction of stuttering, which plays the stutterers voice back to them with a delay -- this feature could be expanded to gently cure people of bad verbal habits like, "but, ummmmm", and, "and-and-an-an-an-an-and", which people use to maintain teritory in arguments the way crows give warning calls.
JesusHChrist, Dec 29 2012
  
      
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