It's amazing how something you can't see, such as the air around you, can have so much of an effect on what goes on while you're driving. Consider the impact of that invisible air when it wraps itself around the windshield when you're driving top-down in a convertible (honestly, is there any other way?).

We've all been there: sun shining, cloudless skies, let's drop the lid and go for a ride. Now, if your noggin has a bowling-ball smooth finish, this isn't an issue; just smear on some sunscreen and go. But if you have, you know, hair, the air curling around behind you whips it around into a chaotic mess. Sure, you could wear a hat, but then you get hat head and need to sport that lid all day to keep it hidden and generally avoid ridicule.

Back in the 1980s, wind-blockers were developed, but these were often a pain in the neck to put in place. Plus, they look goofy. A team of Stanford engineering students has collaborated with their counterparts at the Technical University of Munich to develop a potential solution something they call OpenRoad. Essentially, it's a hole in the windshield. The idea in play here is quite simple: the air flowing through the center of the windshield creates a stream that prevents the air at the sides of the cockpit from curling back around.

Obviously a production version could be better integrated and actually route air from the front of the car rather than through the windshield, but the concept is beautifully simple and seems to work in the video. Check it out after the jump. Hat tip to Sarah


Related GalleryOpen road: hole in the windshield project

[Source: Stanford University]