MEXICO.- A webcam and special thimble are the devices used in system designed by group of Mexican engineering students to prevent a driver from falling asleep at the wheel.
They measure the car's temperature, the drivers heart rate as well as blinking and if they are nodding off, a sound will alert the drivers so they don't fall asleep while driving.
This "Anti-sleep" system is destined to reduce the number of accidents that are cause by tired drivers; three students from the National Poli-technical Institute (IPN) from the Advanced School of Computing (ESCOM), Leslie Melissa Mercado, Jorge Ivan Trejo and Mario Andrei Alvarez designed it.
The school explained in a press release that the system is portable and starts working as soon as the car is turned on and it asks a few questions to determine the driver's state, like the number of hours he or she slept in the past 24 hours, if they have any illness or condition, and if they have consumed any type of medication, among other questions.
After answering the questions, the driver must then put on a special thimble on one of his fingers to register their heart rate.
To completely monitor the driver, a webcam is installed in the car that captures the driver's face, the number of blinks per minute, and the nodding that occurs while driving.
The device functions with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) named "Decision tree" which makes a verdict based on the number of blinks, nods, the car temperature and the heart rate, based on these factors it emits 3 types of alarms.
The first one indicating on the screen that there is no problem with the driver, the second warning to be cautious as the driver is falling asleep, and the third one emits a high pitched noise that will alert the driver.
The students explained that the "Anti-sleep" system monitors the driver's condition every 60 seconds, that way when someone is really tired and has received several alerts, it's necessary for them to take a break and avoid getting into an accident.
They exposed that their system was tested during daytime, nighttime, low light in tunnels, with the driver wearing a hat even glasses, and in every case the system worked.
The students also expressed their interest in taking the project to the Incubation Center for Base Technology Enterprises (CIEBT) to improve it and make it accessible to drivers as well as Foreign and Domestic passenger transportation companies.