Her idea was simple, as she explains in the video at the bottom of the page: she wanted to remove the A pillar to improve visibility without actually, you know, having to remove it. She fitted a camera on the outside of the pillar and had the footage fed into a projector. The projector displayed the recorded footage onto the pillar, showing drivers what they could not see because of it.
Gassler says she did face some challenges in her quest, most notably the fact that the projected video was out of focus and not too legible. She fitted the interior of the pillar with special, one-way reflective fabric and added some 3D-printed parts to the projector, which ensured that the image was aligned perfectly between the window and the windshield.
This way, the driver could count on a clear, focused image, and the passenger in the front would not be blinded by the projector.
“Many car accidents are caused by drivers not being able to see hazards due to blind spots,” Alaina said in the abstract to her invention. “My prototype is designed to get rid of those blind spots by displaying an image of the area behind them onto the spot. [...] This prototype has the potential to greatly reduce blind spot related car accidents.”
The idea of using outside cameras to record footage and have it projected inside the vehicle is not new, though this is the first time a schoolgirl is able to solve the issue of blind spots with a homemade contraption. Toyota’s LQ concept plans to use cameras to help the driver keep his eyes on the road at all times, thus decreasing fatigue. Land Rover has the Transparent Bonnet technology, which offers a view of the ground and the front wheels, to help the driver get out of a small space or to go offroad with more ease.