For those who drive, they are aware of a car's blind spots, and if you ride a motorcycle, you would know that being or passing through that blind spot could be scary at times. A motorcyclist would not know if the other motorist is aware of his or her presence.
The side mirrors on our car, including the rear view mirror, does not offer much view in terms of blind spot areas and we often have to check for any passing motorists before we make a turn or switch to another lane. A university professor in the United States has found a solution to this problem with an invention of a mirror that literally eliminates the blind spot in a driver’s position.
Dr. Andrew Hicks from Drexel University has developed and also successfully applied a US patent for the above mentioned mirror. The new mirror uses a slightly curved shape that dramatically increases a driver’s side and rearward vision with only the slightest hint of distortion. Unlike a traditional flat mirror, which has a narrow field of vision of just 15 to 17 degrees, Hicks’ mirror offers drivers a much wider field of view approaching 45 degrees.
Unlike more sharply curved mirrors that increase the field of view at the expense of making them appear smaller and further away, Hicks’ mirror offers drivers a much more realistic representation of what is going on around their vehicle on either side. He achieved this by using a complex algorithm involving tens of thousands of calculations that determines the best way to position the surface of the mirror to control the angle of light bouncing off it.
Hicks has this to say about his mirror. “Imagine that the mirror’s surface is made of many smaller mirrors turned to different angles, like a disco ball. The algorithm is a set of calculations to manipulate the direction of each face of the metaphorical disco ball so that each ray of light bouncing off the mirror shows the driver a wide, but not-too-distorted, picture of the scene behind him.”
Although there is potential for Hicks’ mirror to reduce or even eliminate crashes and serious injuries or death, current United States regulations will not allow the installation of the mirror on cars that is to be sold in the country. Cars there must only have flat mirrors installed unless it is a curved mirror fitted to the passenger side mirror and carries the warning; “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.”
Unless laws and regulations are changed in the country, it looks like Hicks’ mirror is more likely to find its way onto vehicles in Europe or other countries first and Hicks has had investors and manufacturers showing some interest in producing the technology.
Photo credit: AutoBlog
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