How Do We Stay Safe?
adaptCamouflage-a military staple since the late 19th century-has only recently started to take advantage of smarter design through science. Favorites like the desert battle dress uniform ("chocolate-chip camouflage," in Army parlance) are gradually being replaced with MultiCam, a camouflage that functions equally well in any terrain. Through sophisticated digital modeling and pattern printing, MultiCam is designed so that our minds smooth out the subtle anomalies of shape and color by blending them into the existing background.
shareSince nonintuitive controls posed a distraction to motorists who felt it necessary to adjust their chairs while driving, Mercedes developed seat controls that mimicked the shape of the seat itself, in profile. Like most of its safety advances, Mercedes opted out of a patent, hoping instead that this important innovation would catch on industry-wide. Indeed, it's hard to find a car without this feature today.
respondThe cardboard sleeve protecting your fingers from that hot coffee cup was created in 1991 by a realtor named Jay Sorensen after he dropped his scalding java on his lap. All the major coffee purveyors quickly followed suit. Rightly so-the sleeve is both better for the environment and more effective at protecting from heat than double-cupping.
Tucker's pick:At New York's City & Country School, kids learn by doing. They build with big blocks, paint, and play on the "climber," a five-foot-tall U-shaped bridge with a slide-a shiny piece of wood with no side rails. Kids can see that if they're not careful they'll fall off. To grow, we need to take chances. Progress is littered with mistakes and accidents. Designers try to make things that are safer to use. But why live in a world where no one ever gets hurt?-TUCKER VIEMEISTER
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