Being human, we find it difficult to accept defeat. We all like to think we're good drivers, a Lewis Hamilton incarnate of the school run if you will. But even so, admitting reversing is often times painfully difficult is easy, where you can never be entirely 100% sure that something or someone isn't just inches away from your rear bumper. Which is why researchers at Keio University in Tokyo are hard at work in developing a technology that could turn the rear of your car transparent for such occasions.
The concept is a variant of the 'optical-camouflage' work carried out by Susumu Tachi, Masahiko Inami and colleagues around a decade ago, and works by using thousands of reflective beads embedded in the back seats of the 'see-through Prius' to shine light back in specific directions, creating the 'illusion', at least, of invisibility. The 'invisibility cloak' previously developed by the team used retrorefelective projection technology to project background images (captured using a video camera from behind the subject) back onto the front of the cloak. It also seems to be a remarkably similar technique to that used by Mercedes-Benz to market its latest zero-emissions fuel-cell car.
The specifics of the way the researchers have made it work in the car haven't yet been released, but the concept behind it is looking quite exciting and, like the self-driving cars of the future - the Prius is also Google's go-to 'safe' car, ironically enough - a technology that could make driving even safer still.
Image Credit: Keio University