Alaina Gassler “Invisible” A-pillar

The ideal car would be one that has a bubble top, so drivers could see all round, eliminating any blind spot. But I guess bubble top cars are stuff of fantasy. Something we will only see in The Jetsons. So, making the A-pillar of automobiles invisible is probably our best bet for now.

While Jaguar Land Rover is working on it and probably pouring millions into the project, a 14-year-old girl, Alaina Gassler, got the “invisible” A-pillar working with relatively inexpensive and readily available hardware.

Her project, called “Improving Automobile Safety by Removing Blind Spots,” uses a webcam mounted on the outside of the car and the live image is fed to a projector inside car which is then projected onto the A-pillar, thus creating an invisible A-pillar of sort.

Alaina Gassler “Invisible” A-pillar

Here’s the abstract of her project:

“Many car accidents are caused by drivers not being able to see hazards due to blind spots.   My prototype is designed to get rid of those blind spots by displaying an image of the area behind them onto the spot. I used a small projector as the displaying device and a webcam as the recording device.  The webcam is mounted onto the outside of the car, and the projector displays the image only the A-pillar of the car.  To help the image become brighter and clearer, I used a reflective fabric that reflects the picture only to the driver.  This prototype has the potential to greatly reduce blind spot related car accidents.”

And here’s the video of the invention in action:

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Alaina bagged the top $25,000 prize in the Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars) science competition. We don’t care what other submissions were, this invention is definitely a winner and apparently, the panel of judges thought so too.

I can’t help but to wonder what the folks over at Jaguar Land Rover would think when they read about how a 14-year-old did what they are trying to do… you know, with everyday electronics.

Granted, Alaina’s invention is not perfect as the projection system kind of brightens up part of the car (as you can see in the video embedded above) which could be a distraction to other drive at night, but still, she did it without millions in funding. If you know what I am saying…

Images: YouTube (Paul Gassler).

Source: boing boing.