Dr Michael Haverkamp performs tests that are a little different.
Not for him the brutal “door-slamming-pothole-pounding” kind of tests that our cars are also subjected to.
Think more the “someone-putting-on-an-eye-mask-to-test-a-steering-wheel-and-smelling-fabric-from-car-seats” kind of tests.
OK, hang in there. We’ll explain.
Dr Haverkamp is a sensory expert whose job is to make sure the cars we produce feel, look, and sound and smell right.
He dons a blindfold to ensure that when he is touching a steering wheel he is not distracted by information from the other senses and can concentrate only on what he can feel with his fingers.
By gently flipping shut a fuel filler cap and listening carefully, or by stroking materials, he ensures the resulting sound is pleasing to the ear – and he smells interior fabrics to make sure that even over time they give off just the right odour.
Dr Haverkamp makes sure all these easily overlooked aspects of car design and engineering gel together, in a good way.
Living with Synaesthesia also means Dr Haverkamp experiences sight, sounds, smells, and touch a little differently from many of us. For him, running his hand over a material is also experienced as a specific visual response, and so is the noise that movement generates.
Check out this video as we go Behind the Blue Oval with Dr Haverkamp.