Even though car security systems have become increasingly more sophisticated, thieves are still at large out there taking whatever they can, and one of the most common parts to go missing is none other than the wheels.
Yes, we do have lock nuts which require a special adapter or key to loosen, but even these are not invulnerable. So, to overcome this issue, the engineers at Ford have now developed unique locking wheel nuts using 3D printing technology.
Together with EOS, a leading supplier for high-end solutions in additive manufacturing, Ford has created locking nuts with contours based on the driver’s voice!
Like an iris scan or a fingerprint, a person’s voice can be used as a unique biometric identification. Engineers record the driver’s voice for a minimum of one second, saying something like “I drive a Ford Mustang”, and use software to convert that singular soundwave into a physical, printable pattern.
This pattern is then turned into a circle and used as the design for the locking nut’s indentation and key.
With the geometry in place, the nut and key are designed as one piece, then 3D-printed using acid and corrosion resistant stainless steel. When finished, the nut and key are separated, with a small amount of grinding required to make them ready for use.
The design also includes second level security features that prevent the nut from being cloned or copied. The unevenly spaced ribs inside the nut and indentations that widen the deeper they go prevent a thief from making a wax imprint of the pattern, as the wax breaks when it is pulled from the nut.
If not using the driver’s voice to create the contours, the nuts could feature designs specific to a vehicle, such as with the Mustang logo, or use the driver’s initials. The design could also take inspiration from a driver’s interest, for example, by using the outline of a famous racetrack.
We hope that when this tech finally reaches Malaysia, it will be affordable because we certainly would like to get some for ourselves.