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Auto Innovation Creates a Magic in Your Car

We’ve all wished at times that we had x-ray vision to see through blind spots on our vehicles, especially when we’re backing up.  What if we could see through the back of our car and know exactly what was going on behind us? Now, an innovation at Keio University in Japan can make it possible. The cutting edge technology called ‘See-through Prius’ was revealed at Tokyo’s Digital Content Expo.

The system uses technology developed at Keio University in Japan called ‘optical camouflage’ that was created about ten years ago for military use called ‘invisibility cloak’.  It uses a camera to capture what’s behind you and project it onto the front of a garment, thus rendering the person wearing it almost invisible. The material in the cloak is embedded with thousands of reflective beads that shine in various directions, creating a new type of camouflage that provides soldiers with additional protection in dangerous situations.

In its application in a vehicle, a small camera captures the image from behind the car and projects it onto the front of the backseat, creating a virtual transparency that allows the driver to see what’s happening behind them when backing up. The technology’s creators say this works better than a dashboard display that doesn’t allow you get a complete view when backing up.

The invisibility system is still in development and isn’t available to the general public, however it was mentioned as an up-and-coming auto innovation by Toyota USA CEO and President Jim Lentz during his keynote speech at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

Masahiko Inami, one of the technology’s creators said in a Japanese government publication, "The driver will feel like he's driving a glass car. Sir Arthur C. Clarke said 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.' I want to develop technology like magic that people can use easily in the future."