The seat belt has become a key part of our lives, a strap of nylon webbing that has saved many lives in the years since they've been embedded into the mainstream.
The fabric that seat belts are made out of is called webbing, referring to the weaving process. Often made of synthetic materials like nylon and polyester, the tensile strength of a seat belt has to meet specific standards.
One benefit of this highly regulated material is that most problems have been solved, and much research has been done into edge cases.
The design of seat belts has directly inspired the designs of other products.
The modern seat belt invented over 100 years ago had inspiration from the defence industry, which tested different harnesses and other structures during WWII.
Swedish inventor Nils Bohlin came up with the three-point seat belt which secures your waist and chest with a stretching belt mechanism that pulls out just as much slack as the passenger needs.
The two-point seat belt, which went across your lap, was imperfect, especially in independently adjustable seats and was known to cause internal injuries during car crashes.
Bohlin was granted a patent in 1962, but it soon became clear that the patent would be more useful as an official standard mandated at a regulatory level.
It highlights the value of creating consistent standards for the common good.
However, there's always room for innovation. For example, a Ford patent for a heated seat belt raised eyebrows in the automotive world.
The patent discusses adding a heating mechanism to the webbing of a seat belt strap, but some sceptics noted obvious technical problems such as being wrapped up in electricity should you be involved in an accident.
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