VIDEO: Ford Proves Engineers are Wonderfully Crazy

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Engineers are a special breed of nerd. The stereotype has them walking around with pocket protectors, less than fashionable clothes, and heads full of ideas that only other engineers could hope to appreciate or understand. Ford let some of its engineers loose with their ideas at their annual #FordTrends conference and proved that whatever you might think, engineers are a fantastically creative bunch.

Amid all the perfectly polished presentations and slide shows and witty speakers, Ford decided to let three of its engineers show off their unusual ideas. Their inventions are car related, but they’re not likely something you’ll see in a car anytime soon. That makes their ideas no less fascinating. Ford then invited everyone to vote online and pick their favorite of the lot.

What do engineers come up with in their spare time when they’re not working on the Ford GT or trying to perfect the Mustang? Doug Martin is a Powertrain Controls Engineer who came up with a gadget called On-the-go H2O. It’s an in-car water dispenser that recycles the condensation you normally see puddled on the ground under your car. The best part of his invention is that he got the tubes and filters at Home Depot.

Oleg Gusikhin is Technical Leader, Advanced Connected Services, and he came up with an app called Phone as Car. The app lets passengers control temperature, radio, and climate even if they’re sitting in the back seat. It also has a translation feature, so weary travelers in foreign countries won’t have to struggle to tell a driver how to get to the hotel or that they’re melting in the back seat and could really use the air conditioning.

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The final invention came from Kilian Vas, Ford Systems Engineer. He came up with a device called Carr-E (pronounced “carry”) that is like a Roomba on steroids. Instead of cleaning your house, Carr-E fits in the trunk of your car and serves as a little motorized scooter you can ride around once you park your car. It can also carry things like luggage or boxes and be programmed to follow you like a puppy. It was definitely the cutest invention of the lot.

Once the votes were tallied, Martin’s On-the-Go H2O came out the winner, but who won wasn’t really the point. These are professional engineers who spend their days doing the very serious work of building better cars. Engineers get a bad wrap for being dry, uninteresting types, but these guys proved that wrong.

A water spigot in your center console, an app that makes your car ride more comfortable, and a motorized scooter you control with your phone are all fun ideas. Sure, they’re also ever so slightly crazy, but the world needs a little crazy to keep things interesting. You keep being you, engineers, and we’ll keep loving your wild ideas.

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Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin