Innovation is key to success in today’s world. People strive to be innovative in whatever they do. One such man is Andrew R. Hicks who has come up with something as simple as the rear view mirror. You might wonder what is so innovative about a rear view mirror which has been in existence for over a hundred years now. This mirror developed by him overcomes one of the biggest challenges faced by the commonly available rear view mirrors. Well, in more technical terms, this mirror deals with the blind spot.
A blind spot in a vehicle is an area around the vehicle that cannot be directly observed by the driver while at the controls, under existing circumstances.
Drivers always faced the problem of blind spot and many automakers offer cameras and even radars to monitor that spot. In modern cars, the mirror on the drivers side has a field view of 15 to 17 degrees. This offers a very narrow view of what is happening behind the car. And what gets missed is the blind spot and thus the mirrors have the following wordings on them – ‘Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.’ According to a study by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the blind spot accounts for more than 457,000 crashes every year. It is easier to make a mirror that curves for a wider field of view, but that would distort the image. Advanced systems have been incorporated in Luxury cars but the same cannot be implemented across all the segments.
Andrew R. Hicks, a mathematics professor at Drexel, came up with a solution that uses no video cameras or any high end instruments. He designed a slightly curved surface that acts like a thousand disco balls, reflections from which are focussed by a new algorithm, so that each ray of light that bounces off the mirror, would show a wider and not too distorted view of the scene behind the vehicle. This mirror is capable of expanding the view upto 45 degrees. Hicks has patented the technology but unless the Federal Auto Safety laws get amended which currently requires strictly flat mirrors for drivers, the technology cannot be incorporated. Irrespective of all this, Hicks has accomplished something great and innovations like these are the need of the hour.
Source – Yahoo