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Science & Technology

Windscreen wipers could soon be obselete

By T.K. Randall
December 16, 2013 · Comment icon 11 comments



Could this be the end for traditional wipers ? Image Credit: sxc.hu
McLaren is working on a new technology that could soon see traditional windscreen wipers disappear.
The new windscreen clearing mechanism is based on the use of sound waves to repel snow, rain and other substances from the windows. The technology has already been used in the military for fighter jets however the exact way in which it works continues to remain under wraps.

"It took a lot of effort to get this out of a source in the military," said chief designer Frank Stephenson. "I asked why you donít see wipers on some aircraft when they are coming in at very low speeds for landing. I was told that itís not a coating on the surface but a high frequency electronic system that never fails and is constantly active. Nothing will attach to the windscreen."
In cars, the technology could remove the need for conventional wipers entirely by instead producing high frequency sound waves to clear any rain or debris from the glass. The system would make it easier to clear windscreens in freezing conditions and could also improve fuel economy.

"The windscreen wiper is an archaic piece of technology," said Stephenson. "Weíve had them since cars began and itís one of the last bastions of design to overcome."

Comments (11)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by Paranomaly 9 years ago
If these were in cars today I think someone would figure out how to make it into a weapon. Still awesome tech though.
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer 9 years ago
If the system is constantly active, it must be a big drain on the battery system. If it's off when the car is off, why bother. By just repelling, will the cars be going fast enough to form a sheet to go up and over the car? FI not the visibility may be reduced if you see a bunch of drops flying in front of you even though they aren't landing on the windshield.
Comment icon #4 Posted by toast 9 years ago
Excerpt from the article: "I was told that itís not a coating on the surface but a high frequency electronic system that never fails and is constantly active.Ē
Comment icon #5 Posted by supervike 9 years ago
Well, I don't think I'll regret my decision to purchase wiper refills anytime soon.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Twin Peaks 9 years ago
If the system should fail though there should still be wipers installed just in case.
Comment icon #7 Posted by bigjonalien 9 years ago
Its an electric skin that cuts friction. Similiar to warp tech and ion displacement.
Comment icon #8 Posted by mesuma 9 years ago
How long have the military been holding on to this? It's amazing how much stuff that could make modern life as well as the environment a cleaner, safer place but they hold on to/hide it whilst we pay for it with taxes. Things like this should be public property. They are a hella sneaky bunch.
Comment icon #9 Posted by ROGER 9 years ago
Sounds like B.S. to me. Sound is a wave , and sound with enough force to stop falling rain would vibrate the windshield glass causing it to shatter .
Comment icon #10 Posted by Taun 9 years ago
Definitly sounds like a massive drain on battery life... And what will it's cost be?... Do I really need to replace $5 wiper blades with a $3000 dohickey that drains my battery and leaves me with no back up when/if it fails?....
Comment icon #11 Posted by andy4 9 years ago
Can't they just make all of us really good rain-x? Lol


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