Ford's SYNC added to Computer History Museum at 7 years of age
The museum itself is a monument to the forces that have changed our world and daily lives by tracing the development of computers back to the abacus and forward into the digital age, with displays of artifacts and interactive information programs plus cyber-exhibits available worldwide.
Physical exhibits illustrate and illuminate the evolution of the Internet, the movers and shakers of the Digital Age, the development of microprocessors, the prescient work of Charles Babbage, and the rise of Silicon Valley among other fascinating displays.
Interestingly, Babbage designed a computing machine during the 1800s, but was never able to fabricate a working model. A prototype of his design was finally constructed in England 153 years after it was designed. Built precisely to Babbage’s original specs, Difference Engine No. 2, consists of 8,000 parts, totaling a staggering five tons, stretching across 11 feet.
Now we have cars about that size, weighing much less, with computers inside the dash.
So now Ford is part of the annals of the Digital Revolution along with names like Microsoft, IBM, Cray, Apple and Google. Curators added the SYNC in-car communications system to the museum’s permanent collection just this week.
In the photo above, Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company, joins John C. Hollar, President and CEO, Computer History Museum, in celebrating the induction of Ford SYNC, the industry-leading in-car connectivity software platform co-developed with Microsoft, into the Museum's permanent collection. (Image 06/18/12 courtesy of FORD)
“We are honored. SYNC has helped us move faster than what is usually assumed of an automaker, providing a new level of openness and access that has forever changed how we look at our business and respond to our customers,” said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president, Ford Research and Innovation. “Ultimately, SYNC embodies what Ford is all about: going further to transform innovative ideas into products that are affordable, attainable and valuable to millions of people.”
The fact the Ford/Microsoft collaboration is being added to this historical cavalcade is a true indicator of the impetus to progress that’s driving the Digital Revolution. This was what Ford realized as they began to envision the software interface – people were upgrading or switching phones every two years to keep up with the latest advancements. If computer systems were too embedded in cars, they would become obsolete long before their useful lifespans ended, so vehicles needed to shake hands and party down with the digital devices owners brought into them. Consequently Ford looked to the Windows Embedded Automotive platform.
“As cars have transformed into mobile platforms for consumers’ communication and entertainment needs, the intersection of automotive and computing developments is becoming an increasingly important area for the museum to consider,” stated Alex Bochannek, curator and senior manager of the Computer History Museum.