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Erin Halpin

Fairfield, CT, United States


Member since March 10, 2008

  • Safetone

    Well-being, Environmental Design


    A system that produces a distinctive sound for the hybrid car that is audible to the blind, but does not exceed standards for noise pollution set by the Transportation Department.

    The project wouldn't have been possible without help from The National Federation of the Blind.

    People who are blind aren't able to hear hybrid cars when they are passing them at 30 mph or less.

    My plan is to create an engine sound that would be projected from the electronics of the car, which alerts people of it's presence.

    People who are blind can safely cross the street, and hybrid auto manufacturers will be able to have another selling point to their cars, a distinct sound for their brand.

    I plan to project this idea at the convention that the National Federation of The Blind holds each year. I hope to work with an engineer that's affiliated with them to produce the device and to present the idea to the Transportation Department.

  • Erin,

    I've been invited to give feedback to all Parsons students, regarding your thesis projects.

    Your project idea really stands out because it is super specific. I had not considered the "unintended consequence" of silent hybrid cars in this context before. So, in this regard, good for you for identifying a niche issue and solving for it.

    I'm unclear on how the alert will be projected from the car's electronics / engine...and whether or not branding a sound makes sense. Perhaps a universal sound could be applied to all hybrid/silent automobiles around the world - and the manufacturers could form a community with respect to this issue. (Rather than it be solely a Toyota-branded initiative.) An analogy that comes to mind is the beep-beep alert on trucks that kicks in when they shift into reverse driving mode...

    Overall, I like the project and I think it has legs. Most importantly, it raises awareness about a sector of society that often is overlooked in public space. Congratulations and good luck, J.

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My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design