Monday, January 3, 2011

Good Ideas for (and from) Toyota

Toyota is looking for ways to "improve the world" and highlight some of their most innovative technologies. As an incentive, the best idea for each technology earns the winning individual their choice of 2011 Toyota car: Prius, Highlander, or Venza in the "Ideas for Good" contest.

Ideas do not have to be fully developed for this contest...just send them your best idea (or ideas!) in 750 characters or less, add an illustrative picture, and then help vote on everyone else's ideas.  Do this before the due date of February 28 and come back in April for community voting before the official judging begins.  All ideas will then be selected by a panel of judges based on:
  • Best re-purposing of Toyota Technology (25%)
  • Creativity Orginality (25%)
  • Social Relevance and Benefit (30%)
  • Viability of Idea for Prototyping (15%)
  • Overall Presentation (5%)

The five technologies are:
  • THUMS (Total HUman Model for Safety) - Computer-simulated crash dummy software that mimics the human body and can identify causes, effects, and ways to prevent injury.
  • Solar Powered Ventilation System - Set of solar panels used to ventilate a car; keeping it cool in the summer and warm(er) in the winter.
  • Hybrid Synergy Drive - Combination of gasoline engine, batteries, electric engine, and regenerative brakes that make a highly fuel-efficient motor.
  • Advanced Parking Guidance System - Combination of cameras and sensors that help cars nearly park themselves!  Though with just a tiny bit of human assistance.
  • Touch Tracer Display - System that translates finger controls in one area (such as a steering wheel) and projects those motions in another area (such as the instrument panel).
We will have a lot more to say about this challenge in the next few days and weeks.  But in the meantime, check out the toyota website (, leave a comment below on any of your dieas.  Let's talk through these together and come up with some winning submissions!

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