Friday, June 8, 2012

Magic Mirror?

The top mirror at right uses a newly patented technology to make a low-distortion wide-angle mirror for car mirrors (shown at right as the top, handheld mirror).  Basically the patent covers a method for computing the shape of the mirror's surface.

From the descriptions I've seen on the web (which are unfortunately vague), the surface of the mirror is textured at a microscopic level – much like the surface of a high quality Fresnel lens (though not with circular patterns).  I've also been unable to find out anything about how the mirror would be manufactured.  My guess would be through a molding process, much like the high quality Fresnel lenses available today.

In any case, current U.S. regulations require a flat mirror on the driver's side, so it's unclear how long it will be before we could have such mirrors installed as standard equipment.  I suspect that when these new mirrors become available, they'll first be sold as add-ons. 

On the vehicles Debbie and I drive we have old-fashioned convex mirrors installed as add-ons to the standard mirrors, on both the driver and passenger sides.  In my vehicle, I also have a convex mirror for the inside rear-view mirror.  I hate those blind spots left by flat mirrors, and they are particluarly bad in a large pickup truck like mine...

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