Ford engineers in Europe have been hard at work on solving one of the world’s greatest dilemmas… how does one bring the world of emojis into the real world?
Chevrolet once sent out a press release written entirely in emojis for a… car I can’t remember, and various states are starting to allow the use of emojis on vehicle number plates.
However, Ford has taken the notion one step further, incorporating flexible LED panels into a cycling jacket and hooking them up to a controller that allows a cyclist to show his or her happiness, displeasure or concern with a quick press of a button.
Nothing could go wrong there, surely (insert eye-rolling emoji here).
Besides the obvious face emojis, the jacket’s designers – working on the company’s Share the Road campaign in Europe - have also cleverly incorporated flashing turn signals and a danger symbol into the jacket’s repertoire , which would actually be super practical in the cut and thrust of a morning commute.
The control units itself looks a little bit kludgy, and were this one-off prototype ever to make it into production, that could stand to be tidied up to make it easier to use in the heat of a fierce emoji war.
“Emojis have become a fundamental part of how we use language. Whether used to convey facial expressions, humour, or sarcasm, they have become integral to our ability to express ourselves and quickly,” says Dr. Neil Cohn PhD, assistant professor, Department of Communication and Cognition at Tilburg University in The Netherlands.
“This jacket created in partnership with Ford ‘Share the Road’ allows riders to express their feelings and creates an important emotional link between them and other road users.”
While retina-searing LED lights have long been a vital weapon in a rider’s arsenal, brake lights and indicators have – despite what a plethora of dodgy Instagram ads try and tell you – never really come of age, but this clever piece of kit is a great example of what car designers can do to help calm the sometimes ruffled waters of shared roadways.
Oh, and if you were wondering, there appears to be no eggplant emojis built into the standard programming. Sorry.