From cloaking devices that conceal spaceships, to Harry Potter’s hand-me-down disappearing blanket, or even the One Ring and its power to conceal its wearer, invisibility is a staple in science fiction and fiction in general. Scientists have been hard at work, however, to bring such a technology into reality. Joining the research and development of cloaking technology is Japanese car manufacturer Toyota.
The company recently acquired a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for “Apparatuses and methods for making an object appear transparent,” which Toyota filed last June 17. Seems exciting, especially since it’s a car maker working on an invisibility tech or cloaking device. It actually is interesting, but not because it’s meant to turn Toyota’s cars invisible — well, at least not all of them.
The patent describes a cloaking device designed to turn vehicles’ A-pillars to the left and right of the car’s dashboard invisible, improving road visibility for the driver. Seems ironic that a cloaking technology would improve visibility, right? Toyota thinks that it’s the way to go, especially since A-pillars have become rather large following crash-safety standards. The wider they are, the more they end up obscuring a driver’s vision.