Sun visors are something nearly every car has. Although they serve the same purpose, they’re almost always different from car to car, and especially in the grand scheme of things from full-size trucks to roadsters. While the entire automobile has generationally transformed around us, sun visors have remained a stalwart of simplicity, a simple mechanical device that is moved to keep the sun out of your face. Yours might be mounted on a telescoping arm allowing for optimal adjustment and you probably have an illuminated mirror up there as well. Oh yeah, and when it’s in use, it also blocks part of your vision.

In a world of growing connectedness though, one in which every flat space that can be oriented toward a user is considered prime real estate, one has to wonder why the sun visor must remain just that. You needn’t wonder anymore however, as Bosch has just unveiled an interesting concept of a transparent virtual sun visor.

The idea is a pretty simple one, although it wouldn’t be possible without technology. If you’ve ever temporarily put your hand up while driving to block the sun from shining directly in your face from somewhere the visor couldn’t, you’ll understand. With a dedicated camera monitoring the driver’s eyes, the sun visor knows exactly which part of itself to dim. Moving your head or taking a turn that reorients your direction means the system will adjust, dimming a different section of the visor to keep the blinding sun off of your face. It also has the added benefit of being translucent, meaning the majority area that isn’t being dimmed to block the sun remains clear, affording drivers one less visual obstruction.

As you might expect, the capabilities of the visor do not stop with simply improving visual awareness. Made using a transparent LCD, the virtual visor is also a digital plane that can be used to convey warnings, alerts, directions, and other information to drivers. It’s not hard to imagine such a device tied in with BMW’s latest Live Cockpit professional, which is comprised of a digital instrument display, the largest iDrive screen yet, and a heads-up display.

Whether or not a version of the Bosch virtual visor will ever make it into production vehicles remains to be seen, but it’s an interesting piece of automotive technology that some consider long overdue.—Alex Tock

[Photos via Robert Bosch GmbH.]



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