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Science & Technology

Toyota has patented a 'cloaking device'

August 23, 2017 | Comment icon 9 comments

The technology could help to reduce road accidents. Image Credit:
The car manufacturer is aiming to use a form of cloaking technology to improve driver visibility.
While Harry Potter had no trouble staying out of sight with his magical invisibility cloak at Hogwarts, rendering something invisible in the real world has so far proven to be a lot more challenging.

Now Japanese automotive giant Toyota has expressed an interest in developing its own unique type of 'cloaking device' for use in the automobile industry and has even acquired a new patent for "apparatuses and methods for making an object appear transparent."

What's interesting about it is the way this technology will be used. Rather than 'cloaking' an actual car, the idea would be to make the pillars to the left and right of the dashboard transparent so that the driver could see their surroundings more clearly.
It's actually quite a clever concept, especially given that these pillars do obstruct the driver's view. The way in which the firm hopes to achieve this is also deceptively simple.

"Light from an object on an object-side of the cloaking device [i.e., facing the road] is directed around an article [the A-pillars] ]within the cloaking region and forms an image on an image-side of the cloaking device [i.e., facing the driver's seat] such the article appears transparent to an observer looking towards the object," the patent reads.

In other words - a series of mirrors would be used to bend visible light around the pillars so that the driver can see straight through them as if they weren't even there.

If the idea actually makes it in to consumer vehicles it could have the potential to save many lives.

Source: NBC News | Comments (9)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by pallidin 5 years ago
Must be some structural or cost reason that some form of ultra-strong clear plastic or such can't be used, eh?
Comment icon #2 Posted by EBE Hybrid 5 years ago
The headline is a bit sensationalist, but I think the idea is a great one, making the cars 'A' Posts appear transparent by bending light around them would be very cool, probably cheaper to us a camera and a LED screen tho
Comment icon #3 Posted by khol 5 years ago
It would be cheaper but cameras and screens are passe'..screens take up space ect. I do agree its a great idea and especially used in such an unexpected stuff
Comment icon #4 Posted by LoveDuet 5 years ago
The best thing about eliminating that blind spot is being able to see motorcycles. I am sure a lot of motorcycle accidents occur because of that and other blind spots on vehicles. Hope this comes to fruition.
Comment icon #5 Posted by toast 5 years ago
Lame. Alfa Romeo had that in the 80s already. The cars vanished by corrosion.
Comment icon #6 Posted by paperdyer 5 years ago
This could be a very good thing.  There is one huge blind spot at the frame for the windshield in my Sienna.  I'm surprised how large of an item can hide there.
Comment icon #7 Posted by taniwha 5 years ago
Why not just build these already?  
Comment icon #8 Posted by Boozemonkey 5 years ago
It works. I often walk past Toyota's and don't even realise they are there...
Comment icon #9 Posted by The Silver Thong 5 years ago
Makes crossing the street a bit of a gamble

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