Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Where Angels Fear to Tread
Crude schematic for the Earl J. Woods CarTank (TM)
On the way home from work yesterday, I started to wonder how people with disabilities drive. I know that some are able to use hand controllers, so that the brake and accellerator are mounted on the steering wheel (or so I imagine). I don't think I'd have the necessary coordination to drive that way, but then I remembered Battlezone, the old Atari arcade game:
In Battlezone, you used two joysticks to move your tank. Pushing both joysticks forward made your tank move forward; pulling both backward put you in reverse; holding one stick forward and one back would make your tank pivot. I wondered if this simple control scheme could be applied to vehicles - think how easy it would be to make rapid turns if you could pivot! Plus, driving with treads seems so much cooler, not to mention more stable, than plain old wheels.
Of course, this configuration would probably make cars heavier, more expensive, more ecologically damaging, and would almost certainly wreck roads fast. But wouldn't it be fun to make your car spin around on a dime until your passengers all got dizzy?