Eyelids: Intermittent Wipers

eyelidmainImagine if windshield wipers had only two settings: fast and slow. That was the case until one day a disgruntled inventor was inspired by the superb design of our eyelids.

Engineer and inventor Robert Kearns (1927–2005) lived near Detroit, the hub of America's auto industry. While driving across town one rainy day, Kearns was bothered as his wipers scraped and vibrated across his semi-dry windshield. The misty rain was too heavy for him to drive with his wipers off but too light to leave them on. At that time, most windshield wipers offered just two settings, one for normal rain and the other for heavy downpours. Neither speed fit his situation.

Kearns also had only one good eye, and the smearing motion of the wipers did not help. What happened next was an insight that changed Kearns's life.

He simply asked himself whether windshield wipers could mimic the blinking of our eyes. That is, could the wipers be programmed to operate intermittently when the rain is light? This irregular speed would slow down and quiet the wipers, while it still cleared the windshield and avoided the hypnotizing effect of the other settings.

Back home, Kearns tinkered with wiper motors until they could work at intervals. This adjustment was a technical challenge because he did not have the compact integrated circuits that we have today.

[Read the rest of the article at Answers in Genesis.]