Alaina Gassler is a 14-year-old girl from Pennsylvania who presented the project “Improving car safety by eliminating blind spots” in the science and engineering competition of the Broadcom MASTERS Society for Science and Public (Math, Applied Science , Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars). The idea came after his grandmother scraped the paint from the car after hitting a pole that was in his blind spot. In the United States there are about 840,000 traffic accidents each year related to blind spots.
The side pillars of the cars serve as protection in case of an accident, so Alaina (who does not know how to drive) decided to make them “invisible”, using a webcam, a projector, some 3D printed parts and reflective fabric, so that the driver can see what happens behind the pillar as if it were transparent:
- The webcam is placed outside the car, on the roof of the pillar, pointing to the area behind it
- The projector is installed inside the car to project the image
- 3D printed parts serve to align the image exactly between the window and the windshield
- The reflective fabric covers the pillar so that the image is clearer and brighter
With this project, Gassler surpassed another 80,000 competitors and took home a grand prize of $25,000. Its system is a prototype that can be installed both in the back and in the front, although it does not work with rain and the webcam does not support extreme temperatures. Gassler plans to develop his invention using liquid crystal (LCD) monitors that allow brightness to change according to the weather and time of day, and hopes to patent and sell his idea to a company like Tesla instead of creating his own company.