WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A teenager from Pennsylvania was reported to have offered a solution to blind spots in cars that have caused many incidences of injuries and deaths.
- Alaina Gassler, 14, won the Broadcom Masters competition for developing a prototype that made cars’ A-pillars appear invisible.
- Gassler said she was inspired to do the project to make sure that her brother is safe whenever he drives.
Blind spots caused by a car’s A-pillars are a hazard that drivers must deal with whenever they get behind the wheel. They can also cause serious to fatal injuries to other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.
CNN reported that a 14-year-old female student from West Grove, Pennsylvania used simple and affordable materials to successfully design a prototype that would help solve the problem of blind spots.
Speaking in a video by Society for Science & the Public, Alaina Gassler said she came up with the project after her brother started driving and so she wanted to make sure he was safe.
“There are so many car accidents and injuries and deaths that could’ve been prevented from a pillar not being there. Since we can’t take it off cars, I decided to get rid of it without getting rid of it.”
While the A-pillars support the windshield and protect the driver during an accident, they also block a driver’s view of the road, which can be dangerous.
To eliminate this problem, Gassler set out to make the cars’ windshield pillars invisible by attaching a webcam on the outside of the A-pillar. The camera then sends images to a projector that is mounted on the inside roof of the car.
The pillar was covered with a retroactive fabric on the inside of the car to allow the image from the projector to reflect back instead of bouncing in various directions. Gassler said that this would also help the driver get a clearer and brighter view of the image and help passengers avoid headaches caused by the projector light. In addition, the teen also 3D printed a special tool that lets the projector focus at close range.
For her design, Gassler won the top award at the Broadcom MASTERS science and engineering competition for middle schoolers, besting the other 29 students and was awarded 25,000 dollars.
With her prize cash, Gassler plans to update her next prototype, patent her design and hopes that someday she can show her design to car and tech companies like Tesla, CNN reports.