When you think of science experiments, your mind probably goes to your standard run of the mill volcano erupting. What you probably could never have expected or imagined was that an 8th grader's science experiment could solve a crucial driving dilemma, make roads safer to drive on and potentially save lives.
14-year-old Alaina Gassler from West Grove, Pennslyvania not only won first place at her 8th-grade science fair, but she also may have helped to eliminate the issue of automobile blind spots. The science fair project that she designed is a camera that projects on to a car’s A-frame pillar, which is either one of two support posts that are positioned on either side of the windshield of a vehicle, and connect the roof to the body.
The A-frame pillar is a part of the car that is known to cause blind spots but is something that can't be removed from cars. Alaina explained that the way that her camera would function is to work around the inability to remove the A-frame pillar by making it invisible. This camera's ability to make this car part invisible would greatly improve visibility which would, in turn, improve safety and reduce automobile accidents.
The teen said that she got the idea when she noticed her mother's difficulty with blind spots while driving.
Gassler further explained to science fair attendees and curious drivers exactly how her camera would work. “The camera is mounted on the outside of the A-pillar, records what’s behind it, sends that video feed to a projector that’s over the driver’s head and projects it onto the pillar.” The idea can not only be applied to a car’s A-pillar, but to other areas of cars that are known to cause blind spots as well.
The 8th grader also took home the $25,000 prize at the Society for Science and the Public’s Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars) science and engineering competition and as if her this exceptional work wasn't already good enough, Alaina claims that her project isn't quite complete.
She plans on creating a second phase of the camera involving LCD monitors that would allow drivers to change the brightness of the cameras which would make it more helpful at night or when there is inclement weather.