Alaina Gassler may not be old enough to drive – but she’s old enough to teach car manufacturers a thing or two.
A 14-year-old has invented an ingenius solution to driver blind spots.
Alaina Gassler was awarded $25,000 for her invention, which renders car pillars "invisible".
The Pennsylvania teen devised the contraption for her entry in to the Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars) science and engineering competition, netting her the top prize.
The device allows drivers to "see through" a cars A-pillars, which support the windscreen and roof, but can also block a good portion of driver vision — especially in larger vehicles.
It works by installing an outward-facing camera on a car’s A-pillars, while a live feed is projected onto a retroreflective fabric on the inside of the pillar.
Custom 3D-printed parts allow her to seamlessly fill in what the driver cannot see through the pillar, essentially rendering it invisible.
"There are so many car accidents and injuries and deaths that could’ve been prevented from a pillar not being there," Gassler says in her presentation video. "And since we can’t take it out of cars, I decided to get rid of it without getting rid of it."
The teen told CNN she first came up with the idea because her mom didn’t like driving the family Jeep Cherokee because its thick A-pillars caused blind spots.
She said that during her research she learned that there are more than 840,000 blind spot related car accidents per year in the US alone.
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