Of course, you could have such a mirror already. It would just be curved enough to cover the blind spot to the rear and left of the driver. But that curve would also distort the image, leaving the driver uncertain about the location of objects in the mirror. Thankfully, Drexel University mathematician R. Andrew Hick's patented new design solves that problem:
Hicks’s driver’s side mirror has a field of view of about 45 degrees, compared to 15 to 17 degrees of view in a flat driver’s side mirror. Unlike in simple curved mirrors that can squash the perceived shape of objects and make straight lines appear curved, in Hicks’s mirror the visual distortions of shapes and straight lines are barely detectable. [...]
“Imagine that the mirror’s surface is made of many smaller mirrors turned to different angles, like a disco ball,” Hicks said. “The algorithm is a set of calculations to manipulate the direction of each face of the metaphorical disco ball so that each ray of light bouncing off the mirror shows the driver a wide, but not-too-distorted, picture of the scene behind him.”
Hicks noted that, in reality, the mirror does not look like a disco ball up close. There are tens of thousands of such calculations to produce a mirror that has a smooth, nonuniform curve.
Link -via OhGizmo! | Photo: Drexel University