A 14-Year-Old Science Fair Winner May Have Solved The Blind Spot Issue
Blind spots are inevitable in almost every vehicle on the market. However, 14-year-old Pennsylvania resident, Alaina Gassler, may have found a new fix for car blind spots during her 8th-grade science fair competition.
Gassler beat out 80,000 other competitors during the nationwide science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competition and took home a grand prize of $25,000.
Some statistics behind the recurring blind spot issue:
- over 840,000 of the car crashes that occur on U.S. roadways each year can be traced back to blind spots caused by A-pillars.
- More than a century has been spent improving the automobile, however, there’s still no permanent fix for blind spots.
Gassler’s technology makes the A-pillars of a car “see-through” by using projectors that cast images of what’s really behind them onto their surfaces. The technology works for both front and rear pillars.
Drivers can see live footage of the person crossing the street through the A-pillar with cameras, making them “ghost pillars”, essentially.
Gassler was inspired by her older brother, who just started driving. And since Gassler couldn’t completely remove the pillars since they are structurally significant, the best option was to be able to see through them. “The camera is mounted on the outside of the A-pillar, records what’s behind it, sends that video feed to a projector that’s over the driver’s head, and projects it onto the pillar,” Gassler explains.
In order to hold onto her idea, Gassler and her father did an initial patent search and found a few other inventions similar to hers that mention in-car displays. However, they’re all nearly a decade old, she says, and have never been used. Eventually, Gassler hopes to sell her idea rather than start her own company.