The Airbag System (1987)

A Project in Search of Direction

A platform car carrying a test dummy begins moving, quickly reaching a speed of 30 miles (48 kilometers) per hour as a small crowd of staff people watch in eager anticipation. Then comes the moment, with a thunderous "Bang!" The onlookers could see the dummy sway in its seat; moreover, the impact was so great that even those standing at a distance could feel it.

"Okay," someone says, affecting a tone of confidence. "We must have done it right this time." However, that person's hopes are quickly shattered when it is found the dummy had plunged forward before the airbag inflated.

It was always the same: They could not seem to inflate the bag within the target space of time. Of course, that particular window was only a fraction of a second, 0.003 sec. to be exact. The development staff had already experienced this failure a great number of times. Every test started with the highest hopes, only to end in disappointment as the test staff realized they had not achieved the correct timing for inflation. However, no one had the luxury of feeling down about it. They knew that if they couldn't leap this hurdle, no one could.

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 The Airbag System (1987)

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