A battle ensues over so-called “anti-pinch” window and door closure technology. Anti-pinch now is covered by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 118 and was developed to rebuff dangers from the new generation of one-touch-up power windows and automatic minivan door closures.

Until now, anti-pinch has been handled by reversing technology built into the window or door closure motors, such as Siemens AG's Closing Force Limitation (CFL) design, which Siemens is expanding to handle panel closure. The first North American use of CFL was for the Ford Explorer Sport Trac's power rear window panel.

Not far away, though, was Prospects Corp.'s demonstration of optical infrared sensing that accomplishes the same goal — only more effectively, says Prospects president and CEO, Christopher O'Connor. The company's SmartWindow/SmartSlider technology delivers anti-pinch features without the anxious moments of contact required by typical electric motor-reversing systems.

Prospects' SmartWindow demonstration reveals that certain circumstances can befuddle common anti-pinch technology, even systems that comply with FMVSS 118. That's all solved by the company's optical sensing design. Mr. O'Connor says the optical design “isn't cheaper, but in many cases we're not more expensive.” He also says SmartWindow/SmartSlider “is the only system” truly complying with FMVSS 118.

Prospect has no production plans. Mr. O'Connor says his company is exploring licensing the technology, joint ventures or even outright sale of the business.

SmartWindow technology will first be seen in an '03-model European production car.