If you are — like me — well over 45 then turning the head to watch the traffic behind you when changing lanes can become less effective than it used to be. Since we cannot turn the head far enough we count on seeing what’s important in the rear view mirror.
But as we all know, this mirror is not telling us the whole truth. This is because it can only show a fraction of the world behind us and on our side. This is especially true in the US where the left rear view mirror by law cannot let objects appear smaller than they are:
“In the United States, regulations dictate that cars coming off of the assembly line must have a flat mirror on the driver’s side. Curved mirrors are allowed for cars’ passenger-side mirrors only if they include the phrase “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.”
“Because of these regulations, Hicks’s mirrors will not be installed on new cars sold in the U.S. any time soon. The mirror may be manufactured and sold as an aftermarket product that drivers and mechanics can install on cars after purchase. Some countries in Europe and Asia do allow slightly curved mirrors on new cars. Hicks has received interest from investors and manufacturers who may pursue opportunities to license and produce the mirror.” (Quote from Business Insider)
In Europe cars have mirrors with concave surfaces (reducing mirrors). Of course, then the cars behind appear as if they are further away. But over the years people got used to this.
But still — the reducing mirrors also have their blind spots and accidents happen. Now a math professor at Drexel University, Andrew Hicks, designed a mirror that’s slightly curved to give the driver a wider 45-degree field of vision, instead of the 15 to 17 degrees of view in a standard flat version.
“Typically, bending a mirror even slightly causes objects to appear distorted, but Hicks makes this a non-issue by basing the design on a mathematical algorithm that precisely controls the angle of light bouncing off of the curving mirror.
“Imagine that the mirror’s surface is made of many smaller mirrors turned to different angles, like a disco ball,” he explains. “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.”
Read the full article here:
- New Car Mirror Eliminates Blind Spots With Physics [Car Tech] (jalopnik.com)
- Math professor’s side mirror that eliminates ‘blind spot’ receives US patent (phys.org)
- Wide-angle non-distorting mirror for cars eliminates blind spots (ubergizmo.com)
- No-blind-spot mirror inspired by disco ball (cnn.com)
- Disco ball-inspired mirror gets rid of driver’s blind spot (fox6now.com)
- Government Regulations Prevent This Awesome Blind Spot Eliminating Mirror From Becoming Standard (businessinsider.com)
- Math Professor Invents Better Side Mirror (business-opportunities.biz)
- New car mirror eliminates blind spots (ubergizmo.com)
- “No blind spot” rear view mirror (bookofjoe.com)