Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sonic force field to replace windshield wipers in the future?

Would you like to never have to change your wiper blades again? High-end sports car manufacturer McLaren have the answer; it is considering eliminating wipers completely and replacing them with a high-tech "force field" made of ultrasonic vibrations, MSN reported on Monday.

Reportedly, the automaker has been pursuing the idea for some time, although there are no plans for production just yet. Unless McLaren comes up with a different take on it, they will have to pay some patent licensing, as apparently a Japanese inventor filed a patent for such a system back in 1988.

Meanwhile, since this isn't a real force field, there are several questions:
  • How will this handle ice or snow? According to a quote from McLaren design director Frank Stephenson to The Sunday Times, the idea comes from the military and the system is always on, but how much juice will that steal from the battery?
  • If it is always on, it should be able to repel bugs, too.
  • How will this handle things like, oh, bird poop?
  • Can they make the "force field" strong enough to repel, say, those annoying windshield fliers?

The windshield wiper was born in 1903. Mary Anderson, an American property developer, filed the first patent for a crude, manually operated (via a lever within the car) wiper. While a driver had to manually crank the lever to get the wiper to work, it was still better than opening a car's door and driving with your head out, something that was done previously.

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