In recent years car manufacturers have provided trunk release tabs so we can let ourselves out, but there were two problems with the early tabs. One, they used words to instruct those trapped inside on what to do, and two, the trunk of a car is pitch black when the door is closed. If you had a pair of night vision goggles on but happened to be illiterate, the tab would be of no help. If you could read, but weren't wearing night vision goggles, you were still out of luck. Only those who could both read and happened to be wearing a pair of night vision goggles at the time they fell into the trunk could be expected to free themselves.
The new Ford Focus has solved both of these problems with an ingenious pull tab that glows in the dark and has an easy-to-comprehend symbol. This is progress at its best.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects