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Tremendous Upside w/ Dave & Niraj

Nanotech-powered wiperless windshieldsInnovative
This is sweet...there's plenty of reasons windshield wipers on cars can be annoying. Whether they get frozen in ice during the winter, warp or tear and don't function as well as a result, or just suck in general. But there's a new prototype that's hoping to do away with wipers altogether (probably much to the chagrin of the companies producing those replacement blades) by using nanotechnology to do the job:

Italian car designer Leonardo Fioravanti (of Pininfarina fame) has developed a prototype car with a windshield that doesn't need wipers. It can brush away water and dirt all by itself.

The car, dubbed Hidra, uses a special aerodynamic design along with four sophisticated surface treatments to the windshield to keep the driver's view clear. The first treatment filters the sun and repels water. The second is made of nano-dust which is able to push dirt to the edges of the glass. This dust is activated by the third layer, which senses dirt and activates the second layer as necessary. Finally, it's all topped off by the fourth layer which is a conductor of electricity to power the whole mechanism.

Fioravanti claims that this technology could go into mass production within 5 years, but it already works and has been installed on the Hidra concept car.
I do wonder if objects hitting the windshield would cause the treatments to deteriorate over time though. As it is right now, a windshield can take a lot of abuse, and small debris, particles, and bugs hit it constantly.

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  • [Untitled]
    Posted by: junosand on Feb 25th, 2008 | 03:00pm

    i still don't get how it works, but when i had a car, i liked to put RainX on it. helps out big time in the rain and it only takes 10 minutes or so to put it on.

    • [Untitled]
      Posted by: niraj on Feb 25th, 2008 | 03:18pm

      I imagine it will work in a similar way to cilia in your throat and nose. That is, there'd be microscopic-sized "brushes" that would sweep away dirt and debris from the windshield.

      Or, if you prefer, like a mosh pit expelling a person from the crowd. Except microscopic.

      Also it sounds like the first treatment which repels water would essentially be performing the same function as Rain-X. Speaking of which, I always thought Rain-X was a cool idea, but wonder if it could lead to any problems after long-term use. I've seen mention on forums about it potentially weakening windshields over time (i.e. eventually a pebble could fracture the windshield much easier), rotting of the windshield wipers (due to the rubber or plastic reacting badly with Rain-X), and other problems with plastic parts. Any idea how valid that is?

      • [Untitled]
        Posted by: junosand on Feb 26th, 2008 | 02:34pm

        no idea. i think it would take forever for it to damage your car. i thought it was just like putting wax on the windshield. who knows?

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