Carefully turning your head to the side to check out your blind spot while making a lane change could become a thing of the past, if a disco-ball inspired side mirror becomes a reality for cars. A mathematics professor designed and recently patented the mirror, which he says dramatically increases a driver’s field of view without distorting objects as much as other no-blind spot options.
While it doesn’t look anything at all like an actual disco ball (disappointing, we know), the mirror has a slight curve and uses a mathematical algorithm to reflect light in a way that is similar to the ’70s dance floor staple.
“Imagine that the mirror’s surface is made of many smaller mirrors turned to different angles, like a disco ball,” [the inventor] 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.”
The mirror is still a long way off from being utilized on vehicles, as United States regulations say that cars must have a flat mirror on the driver’s side. Curved mirrors are allowable on the passenger side, as long as they have “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear” to call attention to possible distortion.