Ford has filed a patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office that describes a new sort of self-righting vehicle cup holder to help keep beverages from spilling due to excessive g-forces. Get your hands on one of these and you can do all the doriftos you want, without ever spilling a drop of coffee.
Ford’s cup holder design is quite simple, mounting the cup holder to the center console with a set of gimbals, giving it two axes of rotation so that it can counteract pitch and roll to keep upright. A weight on the bottom of the receptacle helps keep that point lowest, while a flexible guard around the circumference of the receptacle keeps small items and debris from falling in, and acts as a stop to limit how far the receptacle can pivot.
Ford’s self-righting, gimbal-mounted cup holder is the best sort of invention: useful, dead simple, and somehow or another, still available. Cup holders like this are already in use in maritime applications, where the forces acting upon a beverage are likely to be much more violent, but it’s easy to see how they might be welcome in the automotive realm, too. While automakers often file for patents on devices that will never see the light of day, this is one Ford patent that we wouldn’t be surprised to see hit the market.