Bosch Wins CES Best Of Innovation Award For LCD Virtual Visor Innovation

LCD-based Bosch Virtual Visor wins CES Best of Innovation award

LCD-based Bosch Virtual Visor wins CES Best of Innovation award

Bosch

Engineering is the application of scientific principles to create technology that solves actual problems. At CES 2020 in Las Vegas, Bosch is showing off an example of how engineering works. Bosch is getting a CES Best of Innovation award for a virtual visor that addresses the genuine issue of driving into the sun in early morning or evening. 

Driving safely requires good visibility. While the sun is generally great at illuminating our world, depending on the time of day, it can be too much. Anyone that drives has experienced the challenges of adjusting a sun visor to block the sun from shining directly into their eyes while still providing a view of the road ahead. Bosch engineer Ryan Todd used to commute from his home in Ann Arbor, Mich. to the Bosch technical center in Plymouth, a commute that coincided with the sun coming up in the morning and setting in the evening during much of the year. 

As part of an internal innovation competition, Zink and his teammates sought a solution to the problem of being blinded by the sun while maximizing visibility. They combined LCD display technology with a driver facing camera and computer controls. 

They quickly prototyped a system using the display panel from a retired laptop for a proof of concept and went through multiple iterations to come up with a viable prototype. The liquid crystal displays used on countless modern devices including computers, phones and televisions are basically a grid of individually controllable shutters. What we see typically comes as a result of light shining through from behind the display. Energizing a shutter blocks the light, while deenergizing lets the light shine through. 

This principle is used for the window shades on the Boeing 787 which allows passengers to set the opacity of an LCD overlaid on the window from transparent to nearly completely opaque. The Bosch engineering team use a camera to detect the driver’s face and where they are looking. The visor is replaced by a monochrome LCD pattern. 

After detecting the driver’s eyes, individual cells in the display are turned on to cast a shadow on the driver’s eyes while leaving the rest of the visor transparent. As the sun moves across the sky, or the road curves, the LCD panel adjusts the opaque section automatically to always keep the shadow around the driver’s eyes while maintaining complete visibility everywhere else. 

LCD-based Bosch Virtual Visor wins CES Best of Innovation award

LCD-based Bosch Virtual Visor wins CES Best of Innovation award

Bosch
If this works so well as a visor that the driver pulls down from the ceiling, why not just coat the full windshield with the same sort of LCD panel? That would likely be cost prohibitive both from an initial production perspective and after sales service. Windshields are one of the most exposed surfaces on vehicle, subject to pummeling from rocks thrown up by trucks to sand and other abrasives that require them to be replaced from time to time. 

Bosch is talking to automakers about offering the virtual visor technology in production but so far no programs have been announced so it will likely be at least 3-5 years before we see this on the road in new cars. By that time, many cars will already have driver facing cameras to support partially automated driving systems like Cadillac’s SuperCruise and the LCDs should be closer in price to today’s solid visors. 

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #thisisnotapost #thisisart