How many times have you had pedestrians enter the crosswalk without you seeing them, or come too close to maybe a garbage can while parallel parking? See, the reality is that no matter how manufacturers design their cars, they will inevitably have blind spots. One teenager seems to have found a way to refute this current fact, though.
Fourteen year old Alaina Gassler’s project, simply named "Improving Automobile Safety by Removing Blind Spots" served as her entry into the Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars) competition. In the said competition, middle school students from various institutions bring forward ideas and inventions in the aforementioned areas of expertise.
The basic idea is to use a webcam, projector, and 3D-printed material to fill the A-pillars with an image of exactly what the pillar blocks from the driver’s point of view. The webcam was mounted outside the passenger-side A-pillar, and displays video on its inner side via the sunroof-mounted webcam. A special material had to be used to provide a clear image for the driver to see, so a retro-reflective fabric was used.
With blind spot detection becoming standard equipment in cars, Alaina Gassler’s invention has trumped the usual audible beeps and static orange lights that we’d see on side mirrors. By using video, drivers can see what’s going on real-time, and based on the video, there’s barely any lag that can be seen, either. How's that for instant, actual visual stimuli?
It’s really inventions like this that carmakers can really take note of and from. Safety really must remain their paramount concern, and technologies such as this shouldn’t take too long to be adapted into the automobiles of today.