Toyota’s Ideas for Good Challenge

Toyota has announced the five winners of the 2011 Ideas for Good Challenge.

Online PR News – 16-May-2011 – – Toyota recently announced the winners of the 2011 Toyota Ideas for Good Challenge. Thousands of ideas were submitted and judges selected five potential ideas for each of the five technology categories, resulting in 25 finalists. Voters then chose their favorite submission for each of the categories, narrowing down the list until the five ultimate winners were chosen.

The first technology category is Total HUman Model for Safety, or T.H.U.M.S. T.H.U.M.S. is an injury simulation software that enables Toyota to better understand crash injuries, such as those to internal organs, that in the past have been difficult to analyze with dummies. The data collected from this software helps Toyota develop advanced safety technologies throughout the vehicle. Stu S. took home this prize for his idea to make bicycle helmets safer by using T.H.U.M.S. to help identify the strengths and weaknesses of current helmets.

The next category is Solar Powered Ventilation System, a technology that uses the sun’s rays to keep a fan running while the vehicle is parked so that the internal temperature is not much hotter than the external. The winner of the Solar Powered Ventilation System is Tim, who would like to create a solar powered fan to draw smoke out of a building. This fan would be used in impoverished areas where people often cook over indoor fires.

Hybrid Synergy Drive® makes up the third category. This system creates a more efficient driving experience by helping complex parts of a vehicle work together and converting braking and forward motion energy into electricity. Birken S. would like to utilize Hybrid Synergy Drive® through gym equipment, where the use of the equipment will generate energy that will power the equipment, gym, or local power grids.

The fourth category, Advanced Parking Guidance System, uses hands-free steering, ultrasonic sensors, a camera, and a built in computer to help drivers park their car. All drivers need to do to help reduce the 15% of accidents that occur while parking is pay attention and a little soft braking. The winner of this category, Fran O., would like to see the Advanced Parking Guidance System applied to firefighters’ ladders, which would safely guide the ladder to its destination, regardless of visibility.

The final category is Touch Tracer. Touch Tracer is an advanced touch-activated display screen that allows drivers to keep their eyes on the road while controlling music, temperature, and other features from the steering wheel. David C.’s proposal is to use this technology on an ergonomic dome to sense the user’s fingers and allow them to move between keyboard, mouse, and numerical pad with ease. This would eliminate the multiple components on desk tops, therefore reducing the effects of carpal tunnel system.

All of the winners will fly to Pittsburg, PA to further develop their concepts with the help of engineers at Carnegie Mellon University and Deeplocal.