BOUVET ISLAND—In the busy streets of downtown Bouvet there is the all too common commotion of family sedans ferrying squabbling children. But Bouvet is not the only host to the phenomenon. Reports of the disquieting clash of siblings in confined spaces, forced together in unnatural circumstances to re-enact the Normandy landings, have surfaced from such corners of the world as Brisbane, Logan (in Brisbane’s south), and Lost Springs, Wyoming.
An exciting innovation from the engineering department of Bouvet Island Institute of Technology (BIIT) may yet prove the answer frazzled parents have been looking for. The system, inspired by the “cone of silence” on the popular TV series Get Smart, is an ingenious method of isolating children who argue, whine, or otherwise could do with having their heads knocked together. The inventors call it the Car of Silence.
“The Car of Silence is a patented plexiglass system that encapsulates any seating position in the car, including the driver’s seat. In the event of a disturbance from any seat, controls situated above the driver’s-side armrest allow the driver to isolate the person sitting in that seat with a plexiglass container. If there is disturbance from the majority of seats in the car then the driver can choose to isolate his or her own seat and be shielded from the remainder of the vehicle,” said lead researcher and Head of Development Håkon Kristiansen.
“There is an option we are working on right now whereby each container that comes down and encapsulates passengers can be filled with a sedative gas,” said Kristiansen. “It will knock out children for hours and has proven completely safe in clinical trials, albeit not involving animals or humans for ethical reasons.”
“We expect the feature to be popular for long drives, or with particularly annoying children,” he said. “Live-driving tests using crash dummies have resulted in the occasional loss of limb – in one instance the driver happened to brake while hitting the switch and one of the dummies hunched forward and was chopped off at the waist, although silence did ensue. Some teething problems are to be expected, but we’re confident regulators will see little to be gained in delaying release beyond the school holidays.”
Further market research is being conducted in the streets of Bouvet Island by BIIT marketing students, who approach parents with bickering children or a toddler in full voice to gauge local interest in a car-based solution.
While the age-old stressor of narky kids can’t be eliminated without drastic action, the developers of the Car of Silence clearly believe it can be contained in the family vehicle – literally.
Partners are being sought in the automotive industry to commercialize the product.