Bumper Ink

You’ve shared a lot with your car.  Now share it with everyone else.
Bumper Ink is an e-ink display on your rear bumper that gives your car a particular personality, designed by you and powered by your smartphone.
Your car could proudly brag about its miles per gallon, total miles driven, or where it’s been; maybe you want it to make fun of your driving habits, your 9-5 daily schedule, or how long it’s been since its last oil change.
You don’t have to leave all the talking to your car, though; you can type in messages to the car behind you, whether apologetic (“The car in front of me keeps slowing down”) or apoplectic (“Back off!”).
For all these messages, it’s clear if it’s you or the car speaking, so if you’re stuck in traffic, why not have it automatically display some ads? (It’s not like the people behind you have anywhere better to look.)
technical feasibility
  – Bluetooth connection to smartphone
      – class 3 bluetooth range is 5 meters, draws 1mW
          – solar powered?
      – more than enough bandwidth for this application
  – phone provides internet connection, processing power, user control over messages
      – pulls data from needed services (foursquare, twitter, etc)
      – has gps signal, can get speed
      – creates the “personality”
  – getting mpg could be difficult
      – most cars don’t have an api for that sort of data
      – could install something on the fuelline to directly measure consumption
      – could figure out mpg by tracking # of gallons put into the car and miles driven between refueling.

Poster version (PDF)

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