Despite many safety innovations in new vehicles – rear view cameras, sensors for the rear blind spot, automatic braking – the basic chassis of a car remains a small problem. Block-like pillars that provide structure and support to the vehicle may interfere with the driver's ability to look beyond the four corners of the cab. Now we may finally have a solution.
Alaina Gassler, an 8th grader from West Grove, Pennsylvania, won the Grand Prize at the Society for Science & Broadcom MASTERS (Mathematics, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Star) Stars) scientific competition for her practical invention. Using an off-camera camera, an image of the environment is taken and fed to an interior front projection lens that displays the footage on the pillar that is covered with a retroreflective fabric. The result is almost an optical illusion, in which the column seems to become transparent.
Gassler's idea still has to be evaluated by the car manufacturers. For example, variables such as heavy rain or snow could affect the camera's field of view, and projected images could be hard to see in bright daylight.
The Jaguar car manufacturer introduced a similar column imaging system in 201
Gassler received a $ 25,000 prize for her creative and cost-effective solution. All the more remarkable, since she is not even old enough to drive when she is 14 years old.