How Windshield Wipers Work

By: Karim Nice
Image Gallery: Car Gadgets What began as a hand-cranked system is now automatic, and only getting more so: Some windshield wipers can actually sense rain. See pictures of car gadgets.

The fi­rst windshield wipers were operated manually by moving a lever inside the car back an­d forth. Today, most of us take our electric windshield wipers for granted. The wipers faithfully keep the window clear, moving back and forth across the windshield countless times as they sweep the water away. On their highest speed, they move impressively fast, sometimes shaking the car from side to side. What kind of a mechanism can move the wiper arms so effectively and so reliably?

Windshield wipers are found on car windshields, some car headlights, airplanes and even on the space shuttle. In this article, we'll take a look inside windshield wipers, learn about the blades and the controls and then explore a new rain-sensing wiper control system!