Prius! Where do I mount my phone?
I began driving for Lyft back in July of this year and really enjoyed connecting with passengers while helping them get where they need to go. Being a driver is great because you set your own schedule and work when you want to. The only downside was you were sitting in the car most of the time and I noticed the Toyota Prius doesn't have a great solution for where to place my iPhone within arm's reach...until now.
I came up with a new phone mount to replace the shift knob handle which by design is perfectly located for me to reach and view my phone easily. I can quickly drop my phone into the mount and plug in the lightning and audio cables to take phone calls in the car while driving. Shifting the car is still a breeze since the shift pattern is displayed on the heads up display on the dash. It is surreal to grab your phone and shift the car into Drive; phones really have become the center point of our lives.
I did a few pencil sketches of the concept and then drew it up in Solidworks. I decided to 3D print this file to get a quick mock up of the look and feel. I broke the model into two parts with alignment pins to avoid using support material during printing. I used the Makerbot at the Techshop and ground down a couple of rivets in the hardware pile to make the pins. The two prints came of their raft with a pretty rough surface finish. I used sandpaper to smooth out the surface and am pretty happy with the result.
The mount is secured to the M6x1.0 shifting shaft with two nuts (one captured inside a slot in the part and the other jammed on the outside). The J-profile groove cleanly captures the phone without obscuring the screen and gives access to the volume and sleep buttons on the iPhone.
With so many Prius owners driving for Lyft I can see many of them benefiting from a mount like this. Existing car mounts with suction cups leave marks on the windshield and others that clamp to the air vents restrict air flow and tend to break easily. Mounting your phone directly on the shifting column makes the phone easy to reach and serves as a multimedia center piece for the car.
While I am happy with the first revision of the design there can be a few improvements. I would like to make the following changes on the next iteration:
-Add a ball joint to adjust the viewing angle.
-Adapt groove to accommodate multiple devices (adjustable width with a dovetail groove)
My fascination with physical computing started with a simple impulse to give back and participate in my community. Living in the SF Bay Area affords several unique opportunities. One of these is volunteering with the Mountain View Computer History Museum. Through their volunteer program I was introduced to one of history's greatest machine designers. A mathematician, Charles Babbage, designed one of the first computer called Difference Engine No. 2. Frustrated with the surprising amount of errors found in printed calculation tables of his time, Babbage sought to create a machine that would print mathematical tables free of human error. While he was unsuccessful in constructing his machine during his lifetime, his drawings lived on and inspired a team of engineers in London to attempt to build Babbage's machine to prove his design. After great effort to replicate the available technologies of Babbage's time, the team of engineers successfully built the Difference Engine No. 2 which is able to calculate polynomials to the 7th degree with 30 digits of precision. It is an incredible work of engineering, craftsmanship, and mechanism design. It is fascinating to see numerical calculation embodied by a series of movements between gears and cams.
Video for context on Babbage and why he set out to build his machine.
I want to model this machine in CAD, however I learned that Michael Hilton has already done this with the help of Tim Robinson. Here is a link to his annotated video explaining how the calculation works.
Learning more about physical calculators, I found the Curta Calculator to be another beautifully, amazing tool.
This masterpiece is now on display at the Computer History Museum where I am training to become one of its operators.
A line in the Sand...
Making your imprint on the world is as easy as clicking a key on your laptop. Your digital fingerprints paint a picture framing the window for most people in the world into who you are. Go forward, step with confidence and don't forget to smile. Make your moment and share your laughter and your failures. These are the stories that will be your legacy. Smile.
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