Objects in mirror are closer than they appear. Objects projected onto your back seat appear exactly as they are.
While a rear view mirrors’ convexity gives us a wide field of view, the sacrifice we make is that these object appear smaller and thus, further away.
While convexity is useful while changing lanes, it’s not so helpful after you’ve knocked someone’s bumper off while parallel parking.
Professor Masahiko Inami at Keio University in Japan has the solution, why not make the backseat invisible? Astounde covered the idea of real life invisibility earlier this year, and this professor has found a logical use for it in our everyday lives.
The secret behind the idea is optical camouflage; a form of augmented reality that uses rear facing cameras to capture real time data and project it in a way that effectively shields a solid object in the middle from the user.
In this case, the back seat is rendered invisible when a projection of the objects directly behind the automobile are brought into the car. This use of optical camo recreates a normal situation where a user is looking behind his or herself, with no vehicle in sight. Professor Inami says of the technology,
“The main feature of our system is, it makes things look as if you can really see through them, rather than giving an indirect view of what’s behind. For example, with a system that shows things on a monitor, you can understand your car’s position and where any obstacles are. But the point about our system is, it gives a sense of depth, by making things appear where they actually should be when you look back.”
The team’s ultimate goal is to make the entire inside of the vehicle transparent; to essentially phase out the vehicle itself so all surrounding objects can be seen in real time. This would be a helpful feature not only in the cars of today, but in the self-driving cars of the future. Who doesn’t want to speed around on a cushion of air? Here’s a short video of the technology in action.
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