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Drexel University professor creates rearview mirror with 45-degree viewing angle thanks to disco-ball design

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Dr. R. Andrew Hicks of Drexel University has created a new car mirror that can triple viewing angles without distorting the image.

disco ball mirror
disco ball mirror

Blind spots have long been a common (and dangerous) part of driving a car, but a new patent awarded to Drexel University in Philadelphia could help make them a thing of the past. Dr. R. Andrew Hicks has created a mirror design that is able to triple your field of view without drastic image distortion. By using a mathematical algorithm first described by Dr. Hicks in 2008, the mirror acts like a disco ball, in the sense that light reflected off of it is bounced in different directions. The difference in this instance is that the mirrors are so close, and so finely tuned, that light is refracted across a smooth surface at precisely controlled angles.


The resulting nonuniform curved mirror is able to increase the viewing angle from the 15 degrees we experience with standard driver's side mirrors to 45 degrees, all without distorting the image like a curved passenger side mirror. United States regulations require driver's side mirrors to be flat, so you won't be seeing Dr. Hicks' invention come off of car manufacturer's assembly line any time soon — although we could someday see them as aftermarket replacements.