Outside of Need for Speed and other driving simulator videogames, the knowledge of ‘real’ manual transmission driving is dying out with younger generations of drivers. Ford engineer Zachary Nelson is aiming to change all that with a new 3D printed shift knob that tells you when to shift based on haptic feedback—essentially creating the physical manifestation of the ‘shift up now’ display in driving-based videogames. Unfortunately, Pizza Bites delivered by Mom not included.

3D Printed Shift Knob


In true design hacking fashion, Zachary’s project includes tearing components out of other devices, 3D printing, and some Arduino magic. Starting with a haptic feedback motor torn out of an Xbox 360 controller, Zachary then created a shift knob that was printed on a MakerBot. Once that was done, he installed an Arduino controller and connected an Android tablet with a mini-USB port and a Bluetooth receiver. Finally, he plugged the whole system together by tapping into the on-board diagnostic system using Ford’s open source OpenXC software platform. The car of choice? A drool-worthy Ford Mustang Shelby GT500:

YouTube video

It will be interesting to see if Ford uses this concept in any upcoming vehicles. Will it actually be useful for people? Regardless, somebody promote this guy.





(Images via Ford/YouTube)


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.