If you have ever been behind the wheel of a car, chances are you've had those heart-stopping moments when a pedestrian suddenly appears at the edges of your windshield as you start making a turn across an intersection. Best case is that you come to an apologetic halt, the worst case scenario is that an accident happens. Not good. You'd think by now, manufacturers have come up with a perfect way to stop this from happening. From thinner A-pillars to tiny peep hole windows, a 14-year old teenager named Aliana Gassler from Pennsylvania has quite an interesting solution to this often overlooked problem.
Her award-winning invention consists of a webcam, projector, and a special material to give the driver the best possible view at all times. How does this work? The webcam is mounted outside the passenger side A-pillar, and sends the live video to a projector that is mounted directly above the driver's seat. The live video is then projected to the inside pillar which is resurfaced with what is called a retro reflective fabric. A special part also helps focus the projector despite the close range, and the special material only reflects light back at its source, in this case, the projector. Since the projector is found directly above the driver, they can see a clear image, while the passenger just sees a black piece of fabric. Check out her story in the video below.
Her prototype earned her the top place at the Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars) competition with the $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize in honor of overall STEM excellence.
Pretty neat, right? A simple yet effective solution that can do wonders and save many lives on the road. With all the sensors cars have these days, maybe a manufacturer can create a more streamlined version of this system? Heck, how about hiring her or help fund her idea to fruition?