Want to be the person about whom some budding Michael Moore makes a movie?
Not about the guy who 'invented' intermittent windshield wipers (he didn't, BTW, but that's a story for another day).
But about the guy (or girl) who invents a way to keep automotive rear-view cameras from becoming totally useless in winter.
Surely there's a bundle to be made there.
These cameras are increasingly common, and especially welcome, in the increasingly popular 'two-box' cars, like minivans, SUVs and Crossovers, whose back windows typically have high lower sills, making rearward visibility when reversing a serious issue. It could be your kid's bike; it could be your kid.
All Lamborghinis, with those sexy but crazy scissor doors and zero rearward visibility, should have one too.
But again, two-box cars always have an aerodynamic profile which causes the back end of the car to get very dirty, very quickly.
Right out of a car wash, this (left) is what the view from this camera, tucked up beside the rear licence plate frame, looked like. Well, would have looked like, if it had been spring.
But the road was wet (not the ideal time to wash a car, but the Journey was REALLY dirty, and I couldn't bear to drive it like that any more) and within a few km, the road spray had rendered that rear-view camera completely useless.
These lenses are too small to be cleaned with a gas station squeegee. And even trying to use a towel or Kleenex proved futile.
I know; I tried.
Some cars used to have tiny wiper blades for headlights, but you'd need microscopic wipers to fit these things.
Would a high-pressure spray piped in from the rear window wiper/washer do the trick, as it does for some cars' headlights?
But I think what's needed is to keep the dirt off the lens in the first place.
Maybe a mechanism like an old camera shutter that only pops open when Reverse is selected?
A tiny window blind?
A 'clam-shell'-like device like the vacuum-operated sliding doors you always see in Sci-Fi flicks?
I dunno; geez - do I have to do all the heavy lifting around here?
You inventors, get busy.
And when you get that done, how about some sort of cleaning system for the side windows? They already roll past what appears to be a squeegee-like weatherstripping seal; how come it doesn't wipe the side glass clean when you roll the window down and back up?
Figure out a way to make that work.
Next, maybe take on dirty side-view mirrors? Those tiny headlight wipers might work here.
This 'coming up with good ideas we never act on' thing runs in the family. About 80 years ago, my Mother wondered, "Wouldn't it be a good idea to put a light inside the ice box?"
Yes, Mom. It would have been an even better idea if you had PATENTED IT.
I know it'd be unrealistic of me to expect royalties from any of these ideas.
But an Executive Producer credit on the movie would be a nice gesture...
Hey - wouldn't you just know it? I was searching the Internet for photos of the Journey's rear camera - forgot to take my own before the car went back.
I searched in vain, as it turned out.
But I did find a photo of the BMW 650i Convertible's rear-view camera.
And guess what?
And it appears I was on the right track.
The camera is hidden behind the 'roundel' badge on the trunk lid; when you select reverse, sure enough - the badge tilts up and reveals the camera.
Clever, those Germans.
So all you inventors have to do now is figure out a way to make this available on a car that doesn't cost seven million dollars...