Alaina revealed that her own family's car inspired her project.
The student's family has a Jeep Grand Cherokee, but her mom doesn’t drive the vehicle because of its large A-pillar design, and that's what inspired the project. The pillars are the vertical supports on each side of the windshield, and their large size provides more protection in case of a rollover crash, but their size and angle also result in blind spots. “I started to think about how blind spots are a huge problem in all cars,” Alaina told Student Science. After seeing the issue, she decided to get to work on a device that could be a solution to the dangerous problem.
The student rolled up her sleeves and went to work before the competition.
She realized that the blind spots around cars are areas that people can’t see while sitting at the driver's seat, either directly with their eyes or with help from the car’s mirrors. This creates a hazard when a pedestrian or another vehicle is nearby that the driver might miss. Alaina went to work creating various prototypes until she found the mix of items that worked.
She gave a detailed description of how she solved the problem.
As most new drivers know, blind spots are something that people are often warned about before getting behind the wheel. The eighth grader recognized the problem and worked to find a solution. "My prototype is designed to get rid of those blind spots by displaying an image of the area behind them onto the spot," she shared on YouTube. "I used a small projector as the displaying device and a webcam as the recording device. The webcam is mounted onto the outside of the car, and the projector displays the image only the A-pillar of the car. To help the image become brighter and clearer, I used a reflective fabric that reflects the picture only to the driver. This prototype has the potential to greatly reduce blind spot related car accidents."