Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Car Technology Leading The Way For Window Cleaning?

Could car technology wipe out the need for window cleaners in homes?
McLaren To Do Away With Windshield Wipers? Is McLaren about to do away completely with windshield wipers? According to comments made by the sports car manufacturer’s chief designer, that may just be the case. Speaking recently with the Sunday Times (via CarsUK), Frank Stephenson said his employer is developing a system that can repel material from a windshield by creating a force field using high-frequency sound waves. Such systems were originally created by the military for use on fighter jets.

Stephenson didn’t go into detail but explained that an ultrasonic transducer on the screen could send 30 kHz waves of ultrasound across the surface and repel all debris--even snow and insects. Benefits of the system are said to be improved visibility, since debris would be repelled instantly, as well as improved aerodynamic efficiency, due to less drag. It would also mean no more days of having to remove ice from the windshield in northern climates, or at least that’s the thinking.

Unfortunately, there’s no word on when we might see the system fitted to one of McLaren’s cars. Note, this isn’t the first time Stephenson has mentioned the system. During a previous interview with YouTube channel Drive, Stephenson not only talked about wiper-less windshields but also color-changing exterior panels, glowing interiors and shape changing memory materials.

The windscreen wiper has been around since 1903, and its basic design hasn’t changed much since. Coming up with the idea was inventor Mary Anderson, who saw the need for a ‘window cleaning device’ after she saw drivers sticking their heads out of the car to see where they were going during heavy rain.

McLaren plan to make windscreen wipers obsolete.
McLaren are planning to make windscreen wipers obsolete with plans to use a high frequency electronic system to clear windscreens in cars. Much of the ‘clunkiness’ in cars – stuff like wind-up windows and a cranking handle – have been made obsolete in cars as technology arrived to make things work better, but one thing that remains on modern cars from the dawn of the motoring age is the windscreen wiper.

Invented by Mary Anderson (pictured) in 1903 after she realised drivers of the first motor cars were having to lean out of the window in rainy conditions to see where they were going, it became a standard fitting on all cars within a few years. Windscreen wipers have certainly improved over the years as technology has developed, but they’re still basically a strip of rubber moving across the windscreen to clear rain. But that looks set to change. Frank Stephenson, McLaren’s Chief Designer, has told the Sunday Times that McLaren are close to developing a system that will do away with windscreen wipers altogether.

Frank said the idea comes from the military and, although he refused to go in to detail, it seems likely it will use an ultrasonic transducer on the screen to send 30kHz waves of ultrasound across the screen removing all debris – rain, snow and even insects – instantly. It seems this isn’t science fiction, but a system McLaren hopes to be able to roll out in the next couple of years. And although it sounds expensive, it could actually be a lot cheaper to fit than a pair of wipers and their motors. Clever stuff.

They already have this..
Wild color changing “paramagnetic paint”, at the press of a button, change the colour of your car! With the introduction of a new technology using ‘paramagnetic’ paint coating, the choice won’t be set in stone the moment the car rolls off the production line. In fact, the concept is to allow owners to change the paintjob whenever they see fit – whether that be in the car park or at the lights. This changes paint colour by adjusting the voltage of an electrical current sent through the vehicle’s bodywork.

The technology works by running a current through a special polymer applied to the vehicle before painting. This polymer contains particles of ‘paramagnetic’ iron oxide. With the application of an electric current, the spacing of the oxide’s crystals is adjusted, affecting their level of light reflection and thus our colour perception.

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