Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A groovy kind of road

Yes you enjoy music, you hum to the tunes, and you’ve seen “plastic plants” dance to the beat. But have you seen or rather heard of a singing road?

Let's rock & roll!!

It all started in Japan when a dude named Shizuo Shinoda drove his bulldozer over unlevel roads. Road engineers eventually developed a musical road surface turning cars into ‘tuning forks’ when they travel over grooves cut at specific internals which produce different tones depending on the width between the grooves.

This same technology was used in a little stretch of road about an hour from Toyko, built at a couple of hundred thousand yen as a municipal town’s way of creating novelty to encourage people to visit their home town as it was extremely deserted.

But this ain’t something too new, apparently, it was been done at Disney World many years ago with the intro to "When You Wish Upon a Star" playing as one drove down the road towards the Magic Kingdom entrance; Zip-a-dee-do-da was tried too. According to a blogger at a directory website, the sound was freaking some drivers out hence it was discontinued.

Zip-a-dee-do-da from 'Song of the South'

The ad agency for Torrance-based American Honda, RPA of Santa Monica, decided to incorporate the peculiar music-making method into a Civic commercial that will air nationally in late September.

Perhaps the Americans didn’t think much about the repercussions except for its novelty, Lancaster Town in Virginia had a Civic Road with similarity carved track lines which ‘drove’ to the sound of ‘The William Tell Overture’ at 55 mph, the posted speed limit. It lasted for around 18 days when it was forcefully discontinued as it was “creating too much noise”, residents complained.

This hyper-sensitive little town with its graying population complained to the authorities that it was too loud and they could not stomach the ad campaign for Honda Civic.

To date, these roads have been built in cities like Japan, South Korea and Holland. I suppose I wouldn’t complain if they did anything like such is Singapore. Imagine the roads along Esplanade playing ‘Singapore Town’ [… take a little trip around Singapore town In Singapore city bus…] or along the Padang playing [Majulah Singapura]. Think of all the ad jingles!!

It makes me even more motivated to get my driving license!!

However if you think fuel charges are too high and having music while cruising drives you up the wall. You can always opt for something less noisy, and something that you do everyday and most of the time more than once – one of Hasbros’ most popular product in recent years - ‘The only toothbrush that puts music in your mouth” - Tooth Tunes!!


Ryan said...

It looks like Honda posted the "official" videos, and some making-of videos now http://www.youtube.com/honda

Ryan said...

also have them at the Honda site: http://automobiles.honda.com/civic-sedan/videos.aspx