Physicist Dr. Tony Heyes outlines his career – from study at Cambridge with Hawking and how myopia led to his invention of the parking sensor through to the philosophy of science and what Australia must do to become a nation of innovators.
The Parking Sensor, originally called, ReverseAid, was a spin-off from the Sonic Pathfinder – an Electronic Guidance Device for the Blind. Both devices were invented in the late 1970s by Dr Tony Heyes while working at the Blind Mobility Research Unit at Nottingham University in the UK. After patenting the device in 1983 Heyes offered it to Jaguar Cars in Coventry. After test driving the prototype on Heyes’s car they very politely told him that, “You like it because you are a one eyed driver who cannot judge distances. Real people would not want a thing like this.”