The problem with the backseat--really with the whole rear of the car--is that it’s in your way when you’re trying to reverse. So researchers at Keio University in Japan have applied optical camouflage technology to automobiles, making the back seat appear transparent so the driver can see straight through it when backing up. After a pair of rear-mounted cameras project what’s behind the car onto a half mirror, the video is processed in such a way that objects appear in actual size, giving the driver the same sense of depth he or she would have if the rear of the car were really transparent--something standard camera/monitor setups don’t provide. Ultimately the researchers want to kill the blind spot by making the entire car appear transparent to the driver.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.