The pillars on either side of your car's windshield have become thicker over time to prevent your car from collapsing when it falls over, but the wider pillars have created pretty important blind spots. Alaina Gassler, 14, came up with a possible solution therefore (through Gizmodo).
To fill in the blind spots, she placed a webcam on the outside of the pillar on the passenger side and used a small projector to display the live feed on the inside of the pillar. She printed a component for the projector to make the image clearer and covered the pillar with what sounds like one retro-reflective dust – it only reflects the image back to the driver, according to the description on a video that shows the solution. The result: an uninterrupted field of vision.
She tested the prototype with her father at the Jeep Grand Cherokee of her family, which has large pillars.
"I wanted to find a way to get rid of them," Gassler told me Popular mechanics. "And my older brother, Carter, was just starting to drive, so it was a major safety concern."
But technology still has a small way to go. In the video above, the image of the camera is shaky and the projection does not fit perfectly with the image. The following Gassler prototype uses LCD screens, for better visibility in daylight – a problem that has arisen with the projection.
And car manufacturers are already thinking in the same direction. Hyundai and Kia patent pending with a similar solution from cameras & projectors last year and auto parts manufacturer Continental had the same idea, using cameras & screens. In 2017 Toyota received a patent for a & # 39; removal device & # 39; which uses mirrors to make the A-pillar invisible. In 2014, Jaguar and Land Rover began researching a system Which uses video & # 39; s and screens to help drivers look through all sets of pillars, not just those on either side of the windshield. But none of these solutions seem to have come to the real cars.
It is not clear whether Gassler's idea would be legal. Dashboard cameras, which also film and send videos from outside the car, such as Gassler's invention, are regulated so that they do not cover up the windscreen or record conversations in the car. Neither seems to be a problem for Gassler's invention, but there may be other legal issues. An important roadblock for this type of technology is that the front pillars of the car often contain airbags, a crucial safety feature. Continental told Wired Which the screens can split to let the airbags pass, but that can take years to even test.
But the innovation has proved successful for Gassler so far when she presented it at the end of October in the Science and engineering Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars). Her blind spot solution allowed her to take the Samueli Foundation Prize home, the top prize in the competition, along with $ 25,000.