While you might think that the automotive industry would have had their engineers focused on every aspect of improving driving experience and safety, the patented new side view mirror that eliminates blind spots was created by a math teacher. This disco ball inspired mirror, while eliminating blind spots still has some time to go before it’s put in use on your next new car though. For some reason, federal regulations demand side view mirrors that are flat. Automakers are looking into how to incorporate this great new invention though. One suggestion from Ford is to include a convex spotter mirror in the upper left hand corner of the flat side view mirrors.
The creative match teacher, Andrew Hicks is a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at Drexel College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The first news of his intended blind spot eliminating mirror was in a letter he wrote in 2008 describing the method he used to develop the mirror. Apparently it uses a mathematical algorithm specifically designed to control the angle of light bouncing off the curving mirror. While it is disco ball inspired, it doesn’t look like one. It has a smooth non-uniform curve that is made up of tens of thousands of calculations.
“Imagine that the mirror’s surface is made of many smaller mirrors turned to different angles, like a disco ball,” Hicks said. “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.”
While the automakers are working on how to include it and still meet federal regulations, there is talk of having it as an aftermarket product that you can purchase and add yourself. Reports say that Hicks has had some interest from manufacturers in producing this for aftermarket sales.
Source Drexel University