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Next-Gen Windshield Wipers To Be Based On Jet Fighter "Forcefield" Tech 237

Posted by samzenpus
from the rain-rain-go-away dept.
cartechboy writes "It looks like the old-school windshield wiper is about to be replaced by new technology — but not until 2015. British car-maker McLaren is apparently developing a new window cleaning system that is modeled from fighter jet tech. The company isn't revealing exactly how it will work, but the idea comes from the chief designer simply asking a military source why you don't see wipers on jets as they land. Experts expect McClaren to use constantly active, high-frequency sound waves outside the range of human hearing that will effectively create a force field across a car's windshield to repel water, ice insects and other debris. Similar sound waves are used by dentists to remove plaque from teeth."
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Next-Gen Windshield Wipers To Be Based On Jet Fighter "Forcefield" Tech

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @02:20PM (#45705727)

    This wiper also keeps lions away.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    so it also drives cats, dogs and other animals crazy in 100m radius?

  • by schwit1 (797399) on Monday December 16, 2013 @02:25PM (#45705791)

    Will the vibrations exacerbate the crack?

  • by Monty845 (739787) on Monday December 16, 2013 @02:26PM (#45705809)
    What happens when its raining heavily, and a vehicle going the other way hits a puddle, and dumps a massive wave of water on your windshield? What happens when its full inch of heavy slush? I'd say its a nice addition on top of regular wipers, but I'm very skeptical about replacing them.
  • Or... (Score:4, Informative)

    by msauve (701917) on Monday December 16, 2013 @02:27PM (#45705815)
    You could just buy a bottle of Rain-X.
    • Damn you! ...beat me to it.
    • by roc97007 (608802)

      I don't know any more about this than I was told by a windshield tech, but the people they send out to fix chips in windows so they don't develop into cracks, first ask if you've ever used rainx on your windshield. I'm told that whatever they use to repair chips (I'm totally ignorant on the technology) doesn't work on windshields treated with rainx.

      On the other hand, rainx works really well for its intended purpose.

    • Too bad it generally works poorly below 40-50 MPH for most windscreen angles. It's really the poorest quality hydrophobic treatment available. Regular carnuba wax works equally well.
    • by ewibble (1655195)

      what about this stuff? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYlDVimu1s0 [youtube.com]

      • by danbert8 (1024253)

        They address that on their website. 1) It's not a clear coating, it creates a frosted appearance so wouldn't be usable where you need clarity and 2) it's not very durable... When I applied it to some test pieces it worked great for about 2 days and then was just about worthless. Might still be waterproof, but stuff didn't bead up anymore.

      • by ewibble (1655195)

        sorry its not clear

  • by aaronb1138 (2035478) on Monday December 16, 2013 @02:34PM (#45705873)
    Surely someone at the automotive companies has already tested a tiny, high pressure air nozzle that sweeps across from just below the windscreen. It's nice that McLaren is driving new technology, but face it, our cars could be much better. The issue is always budgets, and the $1 here, $4 there for better components supposedly adds up to automobiles costing 2-4x what they currently do. At least that is what the accountants that turn down the engineers ideas say. Sometimes that is true, sometimes I want to yell bullshit as I whack someone upside the head with a baseball bat.
    • by flaming error (1041742) on Monday December 16, 2013 @02:45PM (#45706009) Journal

      "The issue is always budgets, and the $1 here, $4 there for better components supposedly adds up ... Sometimes that is true, sometimes I want to...whack someone upside the head with a baseball bat."

      While baseball bats may be suitable, we here in accounting will only approve the less expensive 1-meter steel pipe from Dai Yung Enterprises.

      • Where I work you have to bring your own baseball bat, yet everybody still uses them. I think it's only decent to make an accountant happy about a cost saving measure like that, just before you splatter his brains around the room.

      • While baseball bats may be suitable, we here in accounting will only approve the less expensive 1-meter steel pipe from Dai Yung Enterprises.

        The shipping price of the 1 meter steel pipe is too high. We are therefor substituting a 1 meter aluminum pipe.

        -- Procurement Dept.

    • by fisted (2295862)

      a tiny, high pressure air nozzle that sweeps across from just below the windscreen.

      Wow, are you serious?
      This is such a dumb proposal, I don't even know how to point out the flaw. Thinking of a car which is moving through air, the fallacy should be pretty obvious, though.

      • Umm, no, the issue is how the air flows over the windshield. The air that strikes your windshield when traveling 40 MPH is only going 20-30 MPH at some obtuse angle. Understand that the air already pushed by the windshield slows relative velocity of the air ahead of the car. An air nozzle would be designed to remove laminar flow characteristics via pressure, velocity and spray geometry, effectively scooping under the water. Most of the velocity of air striking a windshield actual helps hold the water ag
    • by PPH (736903)

      sometimes I want to yell bullshit as I whack someone upside the head with a baseball bat.

      But McLaren is a British firm. And a baseball bat just wouldn't be cricket, old chap.

  • Why not use a superhydrophobic nano coating?
  • I remember another car manufacturer was testing this in the late '90s-early 2000s, Mercedes IIRC?

  • by cyberfringe (641163) on Monday December 16, 2013 @02:39PM (#45705947) Journal
    Is this why my dog howls when he drives my McClaren in the rain? I always thought he howled for the sheer fun of it!
  • Similar sound waves are used by dentists to remove plaque from teeth.

    Um, I hear those sound waves just fine (high frequency sensitive). My dentist had to give up using it on me.

    If this sounds anything like that horrid sonic plaque cleaner, I'm going to have to move to my zombie apocalypse survival compound in Montana. Too bad, I was saving it for the actual zombie apocalypse.

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday December 16, 2013 @03:00PM (#45706145) Homepage

      Um, I hear those sound waves just fine (high frequency sensitive). My dentist had to give up using it on me.

      You may not actually be hearing the sound waves themselves, but the harmonics they create inside of your skull/jawbone/ear.

      I can hear them too, but I've more or less concluded that, like everything else in a dentist office, it's temporary and the benefits outweigh the nuisance.

      I hate the sound, but it seems less problematic than the medieval tools they use otherwise.

  • Bleed Air, Not Sound (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DougF (1117261) on Monday December 16, 2013 @02:44PM (#45705989)
    Jet fighters use bleed air to clear the windscreens, not high frequency sound. The pilot just has to remember to use it sparingly on the ground, or the windscreen melts, which most pilots agree is a bad thing...and mechanics get really ticked off replacing them. Another way to clean the windscreens is a quick shot of JP-8 from your nearby in-flight refueler (booms works best), but you didn't hear that from me...
  • by deKernel (65640) <{timfbarber} {at} {yahoo.com}> on Monday December 16, 2013 @02:50PM (#45706057)

    As one who drives through regions (think the U.P. of Michigan for U.S.'ers), I am curious as to how it will "fix" the bugs getting smeared on the windscreen.

  • This sounds like it could be incredibly expensive to fix/replace. What happens if one of the frequency generators goes out? Will current repair shops be able to service the vehicles? How precise does the alignment have to be? What about microfractures?

    Not having to deal with water and snow would be nice, but only if it doesn't interfere with/cause more maintenance....
  • > . . . to repel water, ice insects and other debris . . .

    Great. I just hate it when those ice insects hit my windshield.
    • by iggymanz (596061)

      that's the thing about falling asleep in the Arctic, after the ice weasels get you, the ice insects finish off any traces.

  • by Wdi (142463) on Monday December 16, 2013 @02:55PM (#45706093)

    but passenger aircraft have very standard motorized windscreen wipers, really low tech...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pIasu8TdhA&hd=1

  • Similar sound waves are used by dentists to remove plaque from teeth.

    Having had one of these sound wave plaque removing treatments, I can assure you they do not work as well as the analog method. While the physical scraping might be less enjoyable, their results are far superior.

    I'm not the only one with this opinion. Others I have spoken with say the same thing and you can use your favorite search engine to see similar comments from a multitude of people.

    But just like mp3s, automatic trans
    • automatic transmissions, flappy-paddle gear changers

      What's the difference? Any type of mechanical multi-speed transmission is a kluge. You don't find them in trains, planes, ships, power stations, etc. On the road? Get a Tesla.

    • "Inferior" and "Superior" are subjective. It might give an inferior cleaning but still be a superior product for other reasons. My Nook Color is a technically inferior product to my mother's Nexus 10, but I consider it a superior product because it costs significantly less. Likewise, my car has an inferior engine when comparing power, but it's far superior in terms of mileage. Canada may be inferior because they invented Justin Bieber, but they're actually superior because they got rid of him.

  • Ok so a set of replacement wipers costs me $20 at the local autoparts store. I replace my wipers once a year, and if something happens that I need to replace one, in an hour (including driving to the autoparts store) I'm all set. No special training, tools, diagnostic computers, calibrating equipment etc etc.. required.

    Now I'm going to install something that when (not if) it breaks will cost me hundreds if not thousands of dollars to fix.

    Let McLaren install these in their $1m cars aimed at the rich and fa

  • by couchslug (175151) on Monday December 16, 2013 @03:13PM (#45706311)

    In our avionics shop one prankster would set (after hooking up a concealed tweeter) the audio oscillator just above the range of normal hearing and enjoy the reactions from those who still had some of their high freq sensitivity left.
    His other trick was telling noobs the black plastic urinal cup on OV-10 Broncos was an "auxiliary interphone" and having them speak into it while listening for side tone.

  • by iggymanz (596061) on Monday December 16, 2013 @04:07PM (#45707005)

    Similar systems were announced in the 1980s in various popular tech rags. damn, live long enough and things just go in cycles.

    http://www.google.com/patents/US4768256 [google.com]

  • by Animats (122034) on Monday December 16, 2013 @04:19PM (#45707123) Homepage

    This works on fighters because 1) in flight, they're always going really fast by automotive standards, and 2) their canopies are angled far into the windstream. If water can be broken free of surface tension, it will be blown away. For a car stopped in heavy rain in traffic, it probably won't do much.

  • by NoImNotNineVolt (832851) on Monday December 16, 2013 @05:46PM (#45708163) Homepage
    Good thing this guy [wikipedia.org] is already dead.

    This would just be adding insult to injury. His whole life, the industry rapes his idea. Now they just toss it aside, obsolete.

The first version always gets thrown away.

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