I'd never claim to be an expert on automotive design, but this still surprised me: one of the tools that Ford uses when creating new car models is ye humble olde PlayStation controller.
I got a guided tour of Ford's design and research HQ in Detroit earlier this week (yeah, it's a tough life being a journalist). I always figured car prototyping would concentrate on all that traditional hoon stuff like going faster and putting flames down the side, but it turns out one of the aspects that car designers are spookily obsessed with is working out what light reflections off the car will look like. And it further turns out that one of the easiest ways to assess that is using some custom software to look at prototype car designs from a variety of angles, and using a games controller to vary the viewing angle and light sources.
On reflection (bad pun apology), it makes sense: games controllers are such a familiar part of life that there won't be any additional training needed. But as Tracey pointed out to me, it does make you wonder: how would they have solved this problem if we weren't already all hopeless console addicts?