Product Idea: Polarizing Plate Covers

Date Published: 20 January 2010

Product Idea: Polarizing Plate Covers

I’m one of those people that is always coming up with crazy business or product ideas. The problem is always that there just aren’t enough resources to go after every idea, and I at least know that

An Idea is Not a Business

so at least I don’t pretend that maybe some day I’m going to capitalize on these things. So on the way to CodeMash last week talking to Brendan about Mythbusters, apparently the show did an episode about trying to defeat traffic cams that take a picture of your license plate if you’re speeding. I haven’t seen the show, but the end result was that most of the things people have tried (or businesses sell) to avoid these cameras simply don’t work. The ones that do work are illegal, because they’re too opaque or reflective and therefore they violate the laws regarding license plate covers. Seems like you’re screwed (unless you have a really really fast car).

But the thing about these plate cover solutions is that they’re all static – if you put hair spray or glitter or whatever on your license plate, it’s just there, all the time. But if you put a little LCD plate over top of it that was totally transparent, but responded to a bit of electricity and became more opaque as more electricity was applied, you’d quickly get to the point where, at some speeds, your plates were simply impossible to read.

Thus, if you simply were to put a magnet on one of the car’s tires (like any bike computer/speedometer), you could probably generate enough current without any batteries or external power source to make the LCD plate cover opaque, gradually, at higher speeds. If you get pulled over, of course, the plate is completely visible, and at lower speeds it would be completely or mostly visible as well.

Update: Turns out this is such a good idea others have already invented it – there are several on YouTube.

Steve Smith

About Ardalis

Software Architect

Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing on code quality and Domain-Driven Design with .NET.