How Does an Auto-dimming Rearview Mirror Know When to Dim?

The auto-dimming rearview mirror is a relatively new application of an old scientific process. The process is called electrochromics which runs electricity through a gel to fragment light, thus dimming light penetration into a room. The electrochromic formula has worked for years on the windows of office buildings and schools for years.

Walking past buildings that used electrochromic windows, engineers noted that less light was reflected outward during the day. When the idea hit, it permeated the auto industry. Why not use the process to dim reflections from rearview mirrors on a car, making driving around at night a safer venture?

The trick was to measure the amount of light coming from behind a vehicle. Light sensors installed at the front of the vehicle measure forward ambient light. When that light brightens, the sensors signal the mirrors to dim.



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