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Math professor's side mirror that eliminates 'blind spot' receives US patent
phys.org ^ | June 07, 2012 | Provided by Drexel University

Posted on 06/07/2012 1:28:19 PM PDT by Red Badger

A side mirror that eliminates the dangerous "blind spot" for drivers has now received a U.S. patent. The subtly curved mirror, invented by Drexel University mathematics professor Dr. R. Andrew Hicks, dramatically increases the field of view with minimal distortion.

Traditional flat mirrors on the driver's side of a vehicle give drivers an accurate sense of the distance of cars behind them but have a very narrow field of view. As a result, there is a region of space behind the car, known as the blind spot, that drivers can't see via either the side or rear-view mirror. It's not hard to make a curved mirror that gives a wider field of view – no blind spot – but at the cost of visual distortion and making objects appear smaller and farther away.

Hicks's driver's side mirror has a field of view of about 45 degrees, compared to 15 to 17 degrees of view in a flat driver's side mirror. Unlike in simple curved mirrors that can squash the perceived shape of objects and make straight lines appear curved, in Hicks's mirror the visual distortions of shapes and straight lines are barely detectable.

Hicks, a professor in Drexel's College of Arts and Sciences, designed his mirror using 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," Hicks said. "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."

Hicks noted that, in reality, the mirror does not look like a disco ball up close. There are tens of thousands of such calculations to produce a mirror that has a smooth, nonuniform curve.

Hicks first described the method used to develop this mirror in Optics Letters in 2008 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OL.33.001672).

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.

More information: The U.S. patent, "Wide angle substantially non-distorting mirror" (United States Patent 8180606) was awarded to Drexel University on May 15, 2012.

Journal reference: Optics Letters

Provided by Drexel University


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Technical; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: automobile; mirror; safety

A side-by-side comparison of a standard flat driver's side mirror with the mirror designed by Dr. R. Andrew Hicks, mathematics professor at Drexel University. With minimal distortion, Hicks's mirror shows a much wider field of view (the wide area to the left of the silver car seen in the distance, behind the tree, in this image). Hicks's mirror has a field of view of about 45 degrees, compared to 15 to 17 degrees of view in a flat mirror. Hicks's mirror received a US patent in May 2012. Credit: R. Andrew Hicks, Drexel University

1 posted on 06/07/2012 1:28:32 PM PDT by Red Badger
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To: Red Badger

2 posted on 06/07/2012 1:29:05 PM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: Red Badger

3 posted on 06/07/2012 1:29:47 PM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: Red Badger

The story of this invention is going to be turned into a major motion picture starring Sandra Bullock ...


4 posted on 06/07/2012 1:30:27 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Obama needs more time. After all -- Rome wasn't burned in a day.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

If she’s in it, I’ll watch anything.............


5 posted on 06/07/2012 1:31:43 PM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: Red Badger

I just put one of those 2 in. concave stick on mirrors on each side mirror.
Problem solved.


6 posted on 06/07/2012 1:33:21 PM PDT by Elderberry
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To: Red Badger

Um... Those 99 cent spot mirrors I have on my vehicles are better.


7 posted on 06/07/2012 1:34:36 PM PDT by Poser (Cogito ergo Spam - I think, therefore I ham)
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To: Red Badger

This will save the lives of many motorcyclists...


8 posted on 06/07/2012 1:35:24 PM PDT by GOPJ (Take your little hammer, little sickle and your scary red signs with a fist on it, and go home...)
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To: Red Badger; a fool in paradise; Slings and Arrows; Daffynition

Why did take 2,000 years, I axe?!


9 posted on 06/07/2012 1:36:58 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: Red Badger

I can adjust my mirrors right now so there’s no blind spots.


10 posted on 06/07/2012 1:37:50 PM PDT by DManA
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To: Red Badger

I learned to eliminate the “blind spot” years ago when I was a cab driver.
Tilt your head to the left and adjust the mirror like usual. When setting straight it covers the “blind spot”. When changing lanes – or just checking behind you – look in the mirror then tilt your head.
Of course some people are too lazy to do it.


11 posted on 06/07/2012 1:39:27 PM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: Red Badger

Hell, I have used stick on fish eye mirrors on all my vehicles for years, and they work just fine too.


12 posted on 06/07/2012 1:41:11 PM PDT by Sea Parrot (Youth And Brawn Are No Match For Age And Treachery. I'm Old And May Not Fight. I'll Shoot Instead.)
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To: Red Badger

What “blind spot”?

As I explained to my kids when I taught them to drive, the mirror in the middle is the rear view mirror. The ones on the sides are for the SIDES.


13 posted on 06/07/2012 1:41:38 PM PDT by Da Bilge Troll (Defeatism is not a winning strategy!)
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To: Red Badger

14 posted on 06/07/2012 1:43:38 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: Red Badger
Hmmmmm. Is it just me or does the silver car look much further away in the new mirror?

What's his problem with the "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear" label on his precious mirror?

15 posted on 06/07/2012 1:45:00 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1234 of our ObamaVacation from reality [and what dark chill/is gathering still/before the storm])
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To: Red Badger

Pretty amazing. One would think that after a few hundred years with analytic geometry and geometric optics available, someone would have figured this out years ago, but I guess not. My hat’s off to the inventor.


16 posted on 06/07/2012 1:48:09 PM PDT by SpaceBar
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To: null and void

Those back up cams have the same problem ... what looks like almost on top of a parking bumper is still 3 ft away.


17 posted on 06/07/2012 1:48:23 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: Revolting cat!
Why did take 2,000 years, I axe?!

Paperwork.

18 posted on 06/07/2012 1:48:40 PM PDT by Slings and Arrows (You can't have Ingsoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: null and void

The mirror is not legal on the driver’s side with or without the label.


19 posted on 06/07/2012 1:49:27 PM PDT by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: Straight Vermonter

Ah. Thanks!


20 posted on 06/07/2012 1:51:10 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1234 of our ObamaVacation from reality [and what dark chill/is gathering still/before the storm])
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To: R. Scott

>>I learned to eliminate the “blind spot” years ago when I was a cab driver.
Tilt your head to the left and adjust the mirror like usual. When setting straight it covers the “blind spot”. When changing lanes – or just checking behind you – look in the mirror then tilt your head.
Of course some people are too lazy to do it.<<

OMG, I’m not lazy but I’ve never heard of this.
I’m going to try it, thanks!!!!!


21 posted on 06/07/2012 1:52:11 PM PDT by netmilsmom (Romney scares me. Obama is the freaking nightmare that is so bad you are afraid to go back to sleep)
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To: DManA

I do the same thing, even though I have to adjust them by hand. My wife has power mirrors and the way she sets them, they are all but worthless.

I adjust them in a parking lot so that I can see cars on either side and behind me. As a car passes out of the FOV of the rear view mirror, it enters the FOV of the side view. I generally back into parking spaces deftly, relying on correctly adjusted mirrors.


22 posted on 06/07/2012 1:52:49 PM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The Democratic Party strongly supports full civil rights for necro-Americans!)
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To: Red Badger
You can buy a little convex glue-on mirror at any auto parts store.
After my second near-accident changing lanes (and I DID look in both mirrors, even turned my head and still didn't see the other car that was about to pass me) I got one of those and never had a problem since.

23 posted on 06/07/2012 1:58:58 PM PDT by BitWielder1 (Corporate Profits are better than Government Waste)
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To: Red Badger

I like to keep my eye on the road, so I use a sonar-type technique. Tossing an empty beer can or two out the window usually will give you a good “ping”.


24 posted on 06/07/2012 1:59:28 PM PDT by USMCPOP (Father of LCpl. Karl Linn, KIA 1/26/2005 Al Haqlaniyah, Iraq)
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To: Red Badger

lol


25 posted on 06/07/2012 2:00:18 PM PDT by VRW Conspirator (Article 58)
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To: Red Badger

Mirror-schmirror.

Mirrors are on the endangered watch list. Like spark plugs and AM radios; they are soon to be unnecessary and extinct.

Cameras. That is what is soon on the horizon. Already rear view back up cameras are in most new cars. Soon side view cameras will be the norm.

Not saying if thats good or bad. I’m just sayin’.


26 posted on 06/07/2012 2:03:02 PM PDT by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: DManA
I can adjust my mirrors right now so there’s no blind spots.

Yes! Most people set them up so they can see the side of their own car. There is no need for that. If you crank them out so you can see more of the next lane over, you will be able to see as approaching car in either your side mirror or you rear view.

At first that setting feels uncomfortable for most people, but just keep telling yourself you need to see the lane next to you, not the one your are in.

You still need to be careful and double check before you change lanes, but you will be able to see people coming up on you much better. Fewer surprises.

If I drive someone else's car, it feels scary to me now since their blind spot is huge.

ALSO, that new mirror makes car seem MUCH farther away. That silver car looks about 1/3 of the size in the regular mirror. At first I didn't think they were even showing the same image.

27 posted on 06/07/2012 2:05:20 PM PDT by Right Wing Assault (Dick Obama is more inexperienced now than he was before he was elected.)
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To: Responsibility2nd

And we wonder why cars cost so damn much these days...............


28 posted on 06/07/2012 2:05:48 PM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: Red Badger

Blind spots? I was taught to always look over your shoulders and not totally reply upon the mirrors...


29 posted on 06/07/2012 2:08:24 PM PDT by ▀udda▀udd (<< F U B O >> "What the hell kind of country is this if I can only hate a man if he's white?")
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To: ├čudda├čudd

In some larger vehicles you cannot look over your shoulder.....


30 posted on 06/07/2012 2:18:21 PM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: Red Badger

31 posted on 06/07/2012 2:20:41 PM PDT by Dahoser (Separation of church and state? No, we need separation of media and state.)
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To: martin_fierro
I needed that license plate this morning. The stupid driver in front of me stopped at a green light and then got mad when I hit my brakes and beeped my horn at the same time.

New safety idea: tie the antilock brakes to the horn. If I have to hit my brakes hard enough to engage the antilock system on dry pavement, the idiot in front of me needs to be alerted to her error.

32 posted on 06/07/2012 2:23:58 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (You only have three billion heartbeats in a lifetime.How many does the government claim as its own?)
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To: Dahoser

Did he just thumb a booger at you?


33 posted on 06/07/2012 2:29:18 PM PDT by Dacus943
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To: ├čudda├čudd

Same here. Years back i was looking into buying an SUV from a dealership that had used cars. Car was in great condition, not a lot of miles but had tinted windows. Looking over the shoulder was pointless and I had to pass on the purchase.


34 posted on 06/07/2012 2:32:13 PM PDT by warsaw44
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To: Red Badger

That building is about to fall over in the new mirror.


35 posted on 06/07/2012 2:44:44 PM PDT by razorback-bert (I'm in shape. Round is a shape isn't it?)
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To: Red Badger
The other approach is to make drivers responsible for seeing and adapting to traffic in front only. And If you don’t give the guy in front a wide berth, and he changes lanes when you weren’t allowing for it, you are to blame. That’s a rule of the road in Turkey, and anyone craning their heads around checking for passing traffic - as is required in the US - is considered a crazy nut.
As far as a technological fix for the flat driver’s side mirror is concerned, that would be easily done. To the conventional side mirror, just add a parallel mirror inside the window such that the driver adjusts the outside mirror to give side coverage, and the inside mirror automatically covers the view more to the rear.

36 posted on 06/07/2012 2:55:24 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which “liberalism" coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: Red Badger

Back in the 90’s, I had an idea for a 1/2 - 1/2 mirror that is actually 2 mirros in one mirror assembly, independantly adjustable. The upper 1/2 is tilted normally, the bottom 1/2 covers the blind spot.

If I had the money, I would have filed for a patent.

But, this guy has a neat product. Too bad our government won’t approve it for 10 years.


37 posted on 06/07/2012 3:14:30 PM PDT by Bryan24 (When in doubt, move to the right..........)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
'I do the same thing, even though I have to adjust them by hand. My wife has power mirrors and the way she sets them, they are all but worthless.'

... My WIFE is quite the backseat driver. She constantly yells at me while I am driving; warning me of each and every road hazard she spies. She warns me in a shrill voice about all oncoming traffic and about cars approaching from the rear...I couldn't drive safely without her ...


38 posted on 06/07/2012 3:15:55 PM PDT by jimsin
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To: GOPJ
This will save the lives of many motorcyclists...

What about the supply organs for donation?

39 posted on 06/07/2012 3:19:49 PM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: USMCPOP

BTTT!


40 posted on 06/07/2012 3:22:27 PM PDT by ExTxMarine (PRAYER: It's the only HOPE for real CHANGE in America!)
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To: R. Scott
Of course some people are too lazy to do it.

I think the tendency is to align the mirror so that you are looking backwards along the side of you car. You need to push the mirror out a little, but then you lose the orientation that the side of your own car provides.

41 posted on 06/07/2012 3:34:40 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: Red Badger
Pretty much unnecessary if you know how to adjust your side mirrors properly. I've a number of cars and I've never had a problem adjusting the mirrors to get rid of that blind spot.

Driver's Ed teaches people to sight the side mirrors along the side of the care, but that is incorrect. They should be adjusted to remove the blind spot.

It is a solution looking for a problem....

42 posted on 06/07/2012 3:43:09 PM PDT by The Toad
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To: Revolting cat!; Red Badger

43 posted on 06/07/2012 3:44:50 PM PDT by Daffynition (Our forefathers would be shooting by now.)
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To: The Toad

I adjust mine so that the side view mirrors “extend” the view based on what the rear-view mirror doesn’t/does show. Problem solved. I don’t know why it isn’t taught properly.


44 posted on 06/07/2012 3:46:55 PM PDT by The Toad
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To: Red Badger

On my 2012 Fiesta, I have a 2-part mirror. The flat part is normal. At the top outside corner is a small convex mirror that covers the blind spot. As a car moves into the blind spot, it moves into the convex mirror. As the car moves forward through the convex mirror, it becomes visible in my peripheral vision.

I have been really impressed with how well the system works - I don’t have a blind spot in those mirrors, and there is no distortion on the flat portion.


45 posted on 06/07/2012 4:02:45 PM PDT by MortMan (Americans are a people increasingly separated by our connectivity.)
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To: Elderberry

Convex stick on mirrors


46 posted on 06/07/2012 4:11:14 PM PDT by B4Ranch (There's Two Choices... Stand Up and Be Counted ... Or Line Up and Be Numbered .)
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To: Daffynition

I’ve got those on my Mazdaspeed MX5.


47 posted on 06/07/2012 4:16:18 PM PDT by Nik Naym (It's not my fault... I have compulsive smartass disorder.)
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