Alaina Gassler, a 14-year-old from West Grove, Pennsylvania, took home an educational award worth $25,000, as she was one of 30 finalists from 13 states who competed in the ninth annual Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering) competition. Her project, called “Improving Automobile Safety by Removing Blind Spots,” basically focused on eliminating the blind spot caused by the roof support that runs on right side of the passenger’s windshield. She decided on that blind spot because the roof pillar on her family’s car is very wide, thus blocking her mom’s view when she’s driving. Read more for a video and additional information.
Alaina’s system uses a camera mounted on the front part of the passenger-side window that is pointed so that it can monitor things that a driver can’t see. The camera streams the footage of what it’s viewing to a projector mounted over the driver’s head. That projector then displays the video on a screen, which is mounted on the passenger-side roof support. A special type of reflective fabric is used to bounce light from the video back toward the projector, meaning that only the driver can see the displayed images. Passengers will not be distracted at all by the streaming images, since the display fabric simply looks dark to them.