As every cyclist knows, the blind spots of the rear-view window of a car can be extremely dangerous. Although companies are working on various high-tech solutions for this problem, a 14-year-old from Pennsylvania has taken a more low-tech approach to create an ingenious fix for the issue.
Alaina Gassler came up with the idea for the project after seeing her mother struggle with blind spots while driving. The problem arises from the A-pillar design in cars, which supports the windshield and provides protection in case of an accident. However, their size and angle also create blindspots – the areas of the road not visible to drivers from their usual sitting position.
With some ingenious thinking, Gassler figured out a way to solve that issue by putting a webcam on the outer roof pillar of a car which could record everything that was masked from the driver’s view. Then, she used a projector to display the live feed from the webcam onto the interior pillar, with 3D-printed parts aligning the image exactly between the window and the windshield.
For her effort, the teenager won the top award at the Broadcom Masters science and engineering competition for middle schoolers and was awarded a $25,000 prize. With her use of fairly simple and affordable materials, her idea could eventually make its way into commercial vehicles as a standard safety feature.