A Teenage Inventor May Have Solved the Problem of Car Blindspots

Paul Gassler, YouTube
Paul Gassler, YouTube

Despite many of the safety innovations found in new vehicles—rear cameras, rear blindspot sensors, automatic braking—the basic chassis of a car remains a bit of a problem. Blocky pillars that give the vehicle structure and support can impair a driver’s ability to see past the four corners of the cabin. Now, we may finally have a solution.

Alaina Gassler, an 8th grader from West Grove, Pennsylvania, won the grand prize at the Society for Science & the Public’s Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars) science fair competition for her practical invention. Using a camera mounted outside of the car, an image of the environment is picked up and fed to an interior front-projection lens that displays the footage on the pillar, which has been covered in a retroreflective fabric. The result is almost an optical illusion, where the pillar appears to become transparent.

Gassler’s idea has yet to be evaluated by automobile manufacturers. Variables like heavy rain or snow could impair the camera’s field of vision, for example, and projected images might be difficult to see in broad daylight.

Car manufacturer Jaguar introduced a similar pillar imaging system in 2014, but it has not yet gone beyond the prototype stage. Safety additions to vehicles are typically met with extreme scrutiny. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) helps set guidelines and enforce federal standards for these additions. Recently, they’ve been evaluating side- and rear-mounted cameras intended to replace rearview mirrors.

For her creative and inexpensive solution, Gassler took home a $25,000 prize. It’s all the more remarkable considering that, at 14, she’s not yet even old enough to drive.

[h/t Gizmodo]

Still Struggling to Solve a Rubik’s Cube? There’s an App for That

francisgonsa, iStock via Getty Images
francisgonsa, iStock via Getty Images

Solving a Rubik's Cube is an easy way to impress your friends, but you don't need to be a math genius to crack the algorithm. With help from this app spotted by Lifehacker, you don't even need to memorize any tricks.

The Magic Cube Solver is a free app for iOS that calculates the fastest route to solving a Rubik's Cube based on its current pattern. To use it, start by inputting your cube's information by tapping the squares in the app's model and selecting the right colors. Hit "solve" and the tool will display step-by-step visual instructions you can follow to complete the puzzle. The stages are all laid out together and each one comes with a picture of what the cube looks like before and after you make your move, making it easy to follow along. No matter what configuration you're starting with, Magic Cube Solver will show you how to solve it in no more than 22 steps.

The app acts as more than a cheat to a particularly hard pattern. If you're interested in boosting your Rubik's Cube skills, you can select the "solve and learn" option after entering your information. This not only shows you the steps to take to solve it, but why it suggests those steps in the first place. Rather than applying a one-size-fits-all trick to every cube configuration, which isn't always efficient, Magic Cube Solver will teach how to recognize different patterns and show you which tricks work best for each one. The ultimate goal is to equip you with the skills you need to solve any Rubik's Cube without the app's help.

Magic Cube Solve is available to download from the App Store for free. The free version only shows you how to solve the classic three-by-three square cube. Solutions for two-by-two, four-by-four, and void cubes cost extra. To learn more about the Rubik's Cube and its origins, check out our list.

[h/t Lifehacker]

Sprint Will Fix the Cracked Screen on Your Samsung Galaxy for $49—Even if They're Not Your Carrier

SergeyChayko/iStock via Getty Images
SergeyChayko/iStock via Getty Images

In a move designed to engender some consumer goodwill, phone service carrier Sprint recently announced that it will repair cracked Samsung Galaxy smartphone screens for a set price of $49. And this time, the fine print works in the consumer’s favor. You don’t need to be a Sprint phone plan customer in order to take advantage of the deal.

The program’s website has the details, but it’s a relatively straightforward offer. If you have a damaged Galaxy screen, you can have it repaired regardless of your carrier through February 9, 2020. (The newest Galaxy S10 model is not included in the offer, but it should still be under warranty.)

Here are the eligible phones:

  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • Samsung Galaxy S8
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
  • Samsung Galaxy S9
  • Samsung Galaxy S9+
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8

According to Android Authority, this is actually a pretty good deal as Samsung screen repairs can cost you over $200. You’ll have to take the still-working phone into a Sprint store with repair services in order to take advantage of the offer. (And presumably, be tempted into switching to Sprint if you’re not already a customer.) If the device cannot be repaired, Sprint will give you $150 in store credit toward a new phone. You can find a list of repair locations by here.

[h/t Engadget]