Everyone can agree that blind-spots are a nightmare. But things like the A-pillars play a vital role in vehicle structure and safety. Fortunately, we have an answer. We didn't expect it to come from a 14-year-old science student, though.

Meet Alaina Gassler. She's a young STEM student from Pennsylvania and the recent winner of the 2019 Samueli Foundation Prize for her creation: the invisible A-pillar.

The system uses a camera installed outside of the pillar, a small projector, some reflective fabric, and some miscellaneous technology to project what's on the other side of the A-pillar onto the pillar itself, allowing the driver to "see-through" it.

While this idea isn't exactly new, having been patented by Toyota, Hyundai, and Jaguar over the last few years, they all used more complicated systems with specially formed digital screens. What makes Gassler's idea stand out is the use of reflective fabric. This gives them a greater degree of control over the light being cast onto the material. This allows them to achieve a relatively similar result with far less complication and expense than previous designs.

Gassler and her team's efforts were not unnoticed. She was declared the 2019 Samueli Foundation Winner, which grants her a $25,000 gift from Henry Samueli, chairman of the board of Broadcom and his wife, Susan Samueli, President of the Samueli Foundation at the Broadcom MASTERS event.

This is a perfect example that great ideas can come from people of all ages. We hope that Gassler is given opportunities to excel in engineering.