No More Sun Visors! : Patent Of The Week

Sun visors have been in cars for a long time, and no-one has seen fit to make the effort to come up with something better. So, for those times in the spring and autumn when the sun is low (but not too low) and in the top 1/6th of the windscreen, then flip down to the rescue. When the sun is at the side, you can enjoy the struggle of trying to unclip and swivel it without hitting yourself to block sunlight coming in the side window. In my convertible, the choice is being able to see the road or blocking the sun from your eyes.

For drivers with families, or more than one friend, you can:

  • buy a car with in-built sunblinds
  • buy sunshades to attach to the window
  • trap a blanket/towel/shirt/jacket in the window/door
  • leave them to suffer

Arise, GM, your saviour!

Windscreen deployment of sun protection system

GM has been granted a patent for “Systems and methods for sun protection” which details an active system that intends to detect when sunlight is in the eye line of the driver or passengers and uses projectors to superimpose an “image” over the offending glare while maintaining maximum visibility.

Types of projector. 1A: Movable Spot, 1B: Stationary “Visor”

The projectors project an opaque circle to block the sun, and a larger concentric semi-opaque circle to cover the residual glare around the sun. In typical patent fashion, the projector can be one of 4 (but not limited to) different projector technologies including DLP (Digital Light Processing) as you would see in many home theatre projectors.

The patent goes on to detail different control logic diagrams and examples of how this system could be implemented, projecting circular, targeted areas or rectangular “visor” areas of opacity to protect from glare.

It then, however, loses me a little, when talk of “input from an occupant of the vehicle” and “touchscreen interface” comes up. This appears to relate to deploying “visors” to areas of any window, rather than the more futuristic algorithm-controlled, targeted blobs that obscure the sun very precisely.

However, after much re-reading to decipher the content, the interface allows the user to activate “windscreen spot”, “windscreen visor” and “window visor”. “Spot” mode, using movable projectors tracks the sun, while the others use stationary projectors hidden in the A- and B-pillars to deploy projected rectangular visors on the windows.

Neat. Any bets on how much this would cost? Would you pay for this over your sunvisors? Where do you put the mirrors that have resided in sunvisors for years?!

What do you think? Technology for the sake of it? Tweet or leave a comment below!

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