What if a car windshield could blink?

WindshieldIn 1902 Alabama tourist Mary Anderson watched her New York streetcar driver struggling to see through his snow-covered windshield and wondered, Why doesn’t someone create a device to remove the snow? (The “someone,” of course, became Mary, designer of the first windshield wiper.) Sixty years later, Bob Kearns brought the windshield wiper into the modern era by posing a new question of his own. Kearns was dissatisfied with wipers that moved at one speed whether it was pouring or drizzling outside; he inquired, Why can’t a wiper work more like my eyelid, blinking as much (or little) as needed? Kearns worked on his “intermittent wiper” idea in his basement, eventually coming up with an elegantly simple three-component electronic sensing and timing device. (The sad story of how the Big Three car companies infringed on his patent is told in the 2008 film Flash of Genius.)

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About the Author

Journalist and speaker Warren Berger realized that the majority of successful creatives and entrepreneurs he was interviewing over the years were great questioners. His wondering about “How can we all learn to do what they do?” led to this website and the writing of THE BOOK OF BEAUTIFUL QUESTIONS (2018) and A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION (2014). Follow him on Twitter at @GlimmerGuy and subscribe to his blog posts.

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