Never doubt the creative spirit and innovation of young people! Sometimes, they have the best ideas because they’re thinking forward while a lot of us older folks are set in our ways. In other words, when a young person has an idea about something, listen up, because it might turn out to be a game-changer.
That’s what happened with a 14-year-old named Alaina Gassler, who came up with a project called “Improving Automobile Safety by Removing Blind Spots” for the Broadcom MASTERS competition, which features science and engineering projects from middle schoolers.
Gassler built the system with a webcam, a projector, and other 3D-printed materials, and together it all works to fill in the space that a car’s frame blocks from drivers’ view.
Gassler hails from West Grove, Pennsylvania, and she took first place in the competition and won the $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize. Her invention works like this: she mounted a webcam outside the passenger side of the car, which steams a live video onto the inside pillar of the passenger side from a projector attached to the sunroof above the driver’s seat.
Gassler also resurfaced the interior frame with a retro reflective fabric to make the projection clear. She said the material “only reflects light back to the light source, which is the projector in this case. Since the driver’s eyes are next to the projector, the driver can see a crisp, clear image, and the passengers only see a black piece of fabric.”
Take a look at the video below to see it in action.
This is quite impressive, I must say. Great work, Ms. Gassler, and we’ll be looking for more work from you in the future.
These kids today, I’ll tell ya…