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‘Pardon me, my good friend!’ The Mr. Henry programmable car horn gives your ride a voice

The horn is one of the most important safety functions you’ll find on a vehicle today, but it’s also one of the most comically misused.

Horns were first developed to alert others of your presence on the road. Now, they’re used to chastise other motorists almost half of the time. In 2015, the timeworn noise-maker doesn’t really mean “Hey friend, watch out for that hazard,” it means, “Hey moron, you’re a moron.”

A new programmable car horn called Mr. Henry has hit Kickstarter in the hopes of addressing this issue.

Mr. Henry is a wireless speaker that attaches magnetically to the outside of any car, preferably in a spot that won’t catch speed bumps or steep driveways. Using a smartphone application, drivers can play a selection of prerecorded messages over its loudspeaker.

Mr. Henry

Simply press the corresponding button on your phone and a pleasant voice will read phrases like, “Pardon me, my good friend,” “Excuse me,” “Have a lovely day,” “You are slightly in my way, benevolent creature,” “Careful there, watch your step,” and “Joy and happiness to you, fellow citizen.”

Outside of making your car sound like a Pixar character, Mr. Henry’s aim is to add some variety to the car horn. With standard units, of course, the driver cannot change pitch or volume, only the length and frequency of the tone. You might be trying to remind the car in front of you that the light is green, but to that driver, you’re two seconds from losing it.

Mr. Henry also allows users to record their own messages as well, something that could make commutes very interesting. We do have one question though. If you’re constantly looking down at your phone to select the appropriate phrase, doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose? Polite expressions won’t do much good after you slam into the back of an F-150 because you weren’t watching the road.

Related: Volkswagen’s Car-Net for Apple Watch lets you control your vehicle from your wrist

The Mr. Henry team has until Thursday, July 9th to raise $29,000 to manufacture the device. The product currently has 10 backers with $647 of combined financial support.

As with most crowdfunding campaigns, there are various perks associated with different levels of contribution. Standard donations will get you the Mr. Henry horn in different quantities, but those who pledge $999 or more will get a special, ‘limited luxe-edition’ gold-plated version.

Because nothing says cool like a gold-plated horn.