Toyota drinks the Romulan ale

And if you ask me, they earned it:

Toyota has received a US patent for “Apparatuses and methods for making an object appear transparent,” which effectively translates into a “cloaking device” you might expect in a science fiction movie.

Actual usage could prove to be less interesting than you might expect, though still proof to a wonder of science — the patent illustrates a potential use as making the A-pillars to the left and right of the dashboard disappear.

Which is something that can be done today [warning: autostart video], but at Lexus prices or higher:

These pillars have grown over time, as crash-test requirements get stronger, which can hamper visibility. Being able to see “through” (it’s more like “around”) the A-pillar without craning your neck every which way could greatly benefit pedestrian safety.

In the patent, Toyota points out that this sort of technology can already be put to use in vehicles, but it requires video cameras and other expensive materials and equipment. Therefore, an equally efficient but less expensive solution needed to be found, and Toyota believes its “cloaking device” fits that bill.

And it would be nice if the “device” could do something about the horrid front fascia of almost every current Toyota or Lexus, the gaping maw from which pedestrians never return.

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