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Google Maps circa 1971
Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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They all watch too much MSNBC... they get ideas.

Bob Keane
Member #7,342
June 2006

I thought it was serious right up to the end. Good one.;D

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bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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That's awesome. Thanks for sharing. I was expecting something much less fancy. When I first heard the voice talking I thought it was some kind of modern day, GPS-based parody. Then I saw the cassettes. And then the timing box. Mind blown. Clever solutions for the time, but not too surprising that it never took off.

I wonder what other gems existed in the past that I would find interesting to learn about. :) I came to realize in my 30's that I should have studied history more in-depth. It seems to me that history is vital knowledge if you want to have any hope of making the world a better place. You need to know what has been tried, and where it failed, to guess how to succeed without repeating long-term, past mistakes.

Append:

Wait, so was this real, or was it faked? :-/ And was it really in the 70's or was it recent?

MiquelFire
Member #3,110
January 2003
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I'm fairly sure it's fake. I don't think all cars in the 70's had the needed connectors for a device like this.

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bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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I doubt any of the cars would have been plug-and-play with this. I'm sure doing something like this in those days would have been a DIY project that you make work.. They showed the timing box, which is a bit iffy, but plausible. The only real question is how the wheel speed is communicated to the device (I missed that part). But it's likely based on the same technology as the speedometer. So it's also plausible.

NiteHackr
Member #2,229
April 2002

Seems legitimate. Note that this is just a prototype. There were plenty of ideas like this back then that never made it.

Most people back then had maps of where they were going, so I doubt this would have been a big thing, especially since you need a specialized cassette for the route you wanted to take, which seems more involved than just pulling a map out of the glove box or asking someone on the street.

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bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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It's not only that. The device only works under ideal conditions. Any wrenches in your route will throw it off. If you make a wrong turn then suddenly all instructions will be wrong, and they could kill you. On top of that, the cost was probably prohibitive, and it would probably require maintenance over time to continue working flawlessly. Having your own map and planning your route ahead of time would be more reliable, significantly cheaper, and much less effort.

It was probably a necessary step to getting to where we are now with GPS/directions built right into map apps. It's probably not so much that this "failed", but rather that it required some more decades of innovations before the idea could be fully realized.

Bob Keane
Member #7,342
June 2006

Bamccaig said:

The only real question is how the wheel speed is communicated to the device (I missed that part).

They explained it by inserting a "silicone board" (daughter?) with the wheel size information into the device.

Bamccaig said:

Any wrenches in your route will throw it off.

They mentioned that as well.

NiteHackr said:

Seems legitimate. Note that this is just a prototype. There were plenty of ideas like this back then that never made it.

This looks like an SNL commercial, or possibly Monty Python. Something plausible, with a realistic tone, then a twist at the end to provide the humour. Do (or did) they have warning signs like the one at the end of the video?

By reading this sig, I, the reader, agree to render my soul to Bob Keane. I, the reader, understand this is a legally binding contract and freely render my soul.
If we get apple juice from squeezing apples, and we get prunes from drying out plums, where does prune juice come from?
"I like to go to the park and watch the children run around. They don't know I'm using blanks." LennyLen

Mark Oates
Member #1,146
March 2001
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Quote:

A huge leap forward from the gramophone version.

;D

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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The video is fake...

But in car driving navigation system date back to early 1900s. Instructions between two well known points were printed on scrolls. You could rotate them by hand. I suppose it would be possible to automate that if it were hooked up to an accurate speedometer.

Peter Hull
Member #1,136
March 2001

I don't think it's fake. Tomorrow's World was a legit programme I remember from my youth and they did feature rather speculative new inventions ("appearing on tomorrow's world is the kiss of death" as my dad used to say), often in a light-hearted way.
Also it does appear on the BBC archive and I think they would say if it was an April fool or something.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/cassette-based-navigation-1971/z6sbt39
Cassettes were new-ish (mid 60s?) but well-established by 1971 and I think the rest of it would be feasible using analogue circuits - the connection to the wheels looks mechanical and the daughter board thing will be a potential divider or something to scale the signal.
I bet it was probably something of a tech-demo - similar to the software world of today - works as long as you're careful but not ready for the general public!

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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I meant fake as in vaporware fake. Or as you say, "tech-demo" fake.

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