An eighth-grader from West Grove, Pennsylvania, Alaina Gassler, has invented something so brilliant it probably should’ve been obvious to automakers years ago: It’s a system that uses cameras and projectors to eliminate blindspots in cars, allowing drivers to have far more visibility of the environment around them than normal. And while future usage of the ingenious invention is obviously unclear at this point, the immediate, good news is that the fourteen-year-old inventor has been awarded a hefty $25,000 prize.
— Society for Science (@Society4Science) October 30, 2019
The prototype, displayed in use in the video above, works exactly as you’d expect it to. The system uses a web camera mounted on the outside of a car to record the environment blocked by the car’s structural pillars (in this case, just the most-forward pillar in the cabin), and a projector that displays what’s being recorded by the web camera onto said pillars. The projector also projects the video recorded by the exterior web camera onto a reflective fabric, which helps to make the image brighter, clearer, and more focused on the driver’s line of sight.
In the description for the prototype video, Gassler notes that her invention aims to get rid of hazards due to blindspots, and that this system “has the potential to greatly reduce blind spot related car accidents.” That sentiment is echoed by President and CEO of the SSP, Maya Ajmera, who notes in a post announcing Gassler’s achievement that “[this] project has the potential to decrease the number of automobile accidents by reducing blind spots.”
What do you think of this vehicle blindspot elimination system? Do you foresee this kind of system becoming ubiquitous in vehicles, or is it unlikely to make it into mass production with the rise of cars that get rid of the need for drivers altogether? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Images: Paul Gassler