Solving Blind Spots with Technology

By Paige Francis
blind spots.jpg
nytimes.com

Blindspots in cars have been an issue for a long time. Accidents and deaths have been a result of people not being able to see out of certain spots in their car. A teen from Pennsylvania just solved that problem for her school’s science fair and earned $25,000 for winning the fair.

Alaina Gassler is a 14-year-old from Pennsylvania who noticed her mother had trouble with blind spots in her Jeep Grand Cherokee. A-pillars, the thick supports on either side of your windshield, are very common in cars and create blind spots for drivers. Alania wanted to solve this problem, and the way she did it is pretty ingenious. Alaina attached a webcam to the outside of the A-pillar, which is used to send a live video stream to a projector that projects the video onto the inside of the A-pillar, creating an almost seamless view of the roads outside. Alaina used 3D printed parts to line the projection up with the A-pillar to create that effect. In her video for her Society of Science, she said “There are so many car accidents and injuries and deaths that could've been prevented from a pillar not being there. And since we can't take it off cars, I decided to get rid of it without getting rid of it."

Alaina’s invention could be used in new models of cars if she decides to partner with car companies who would incorporate it into their products. Gassler says that she wants to show her project to Tesla “because they are always looking for ways to make their cars safer and they are always looking for more futuristic features to put in their cars.”  Her invention would result in fewer car accidents caused by blind spots. When Alaina was doing her research, she found that 840,000 car accidents are caused by blind spots. Alaina hopes to make her prototype more unique, patent the design, and submit the idea to automotive companies like Tesla. 

Alaina Gassler’s science project could seriously help save lives. It would reduce the number of car accidents a lot. If her science project could be smaller and easier to put into new cars, then this could be a very effective product.