Perhaps this is how we will evolve beyond the 'enormous touchscreens everywhere' trend.
Lotus has been working on electric vehicles and SUVs, and many have complained that these machines would never have been approved by the company's founder, Colin Chapman. What these naysayers fail to appreciate is that these mass-market offerings will help pay for better sports cars; something has to pay for the development of the Emira and its brethren. Another thing that goes unnoticed is that Lotus is innovating in extraordinary ways, and that's something Mr. Chapman would have been a big fan of.
Lotus is again showing its inventive excellence in a patent that CarBuzz discovered this morning after it was published by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO). The new invention could have benefits for everything from EVs to race cars and looks to be a different take on something Bosch developed a couple of years ago.
The basic premise is this: instead of a traditional sun visor made of foam and fabric, the visor is a screen with anti-glare technology. The obvious benefit is that you can avoid being blinded by the sun without obscuring your view out of the windshield. Secondly, this "polarizing sun shade element" will have at least two switchable LCD panel modules, with each covering a different portion of the visor. When off, these modules will be transparent, and when activated, they are tinted, with activation controlled by either a manual switch or a slider switch. Naturally, activating both modules will tint the visor more. This invention, says Lotus, provides an improved anti-glare visor that comprises reduced complexity and reduced cost.
The patent documentation goes on to suggest that the LCD panel modules "may be tinted sequentially when turning the vehicle," to provide a glare-free experience at all times. This could be a truly beneficial upgrade that will make the cabin of a future Lotus safer and sleeker. But we have other ideas.
If the visor is to be comprised of LCD panels that can be made transparent, why not make the visor a permanent visor that doubles as a head-up display? You could show range, temperatures, and media info in an unobtrusive manner. On the track, the display could act as a lap timer. Off-road, it could house a compass. In all of these scenarios, your gaze is always directed toward the road. There are myriad potential applications for this, so keep an eye out for this tech someday soon.