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No wiper blades - imagine that

2014-01-17 12:14

WIPER BLADES Mary Anderson (above) was the mastermind behind the invention of wiper blades. McLaren is working to create a car that doesn't need them. Images: Wikipedia

LONDON, England - Wiper blades are vital but can also be very annoyingly noisy. A report in the London Daily Mail suggests automaker McLaren might have a solution.

The Formula 1 company is designing a sports car that uses a system adapted from fighter jets to keep a driver's vision clear in rain and fog.    

It is believed to involve high-frequency sound waves similar to those used by dentists for removing plaque from teeth, the Mail reported. The F1 firm is developing the method for its new supercar, expected to roll off the production line in 2015.


The Mail reports suggest it may make use of ultrasound to create tiny vibrations on the screen which would bounce off rain. McLaren is remaining tight-lipped on the plans because it says rivals may steal the idea. This new design would also improve visibility and prevent wiper blades sticking to the glass in winter.

McLaren's chief designer Frank Stephenson told the UK's Sunday Times the system was already being used by the military. He was reported as saying: "It took a lot of effort to get this out of a source in the military. I asked why you don't see wipers on some aircraft on when they are coming in to land.

"I was told that it's not a coating but a high-frequency electronic system that never fails and is constantly active. Nothing will attach to the windscreen."

Paul Wilcox, professor of ultrasonics at Bristol University's faculty of engineering, told the Sunday Times: "The obvious way of doing it is to have an ultrasonic transducer in the corner of the windscreen that would excite waves at around 30kHz across the windscreen."

Windscreen wipers were invented by American property developer Mary Anderson who received a patent for a swinging arm device with a rubber blade that was operated from the cabin with a lever.

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