One of my biggest worries while driving long distances is falling asleep. The road can play games with my eyes at times and can slowly lead me to closing my eyes. I have fallen asleep once while driving and was lucky enough to only crash into a pile of bushes. However, there are hundreds of accidents each year that involve someone falling asleep and the accidents are much more severe. The Integrated Eyetracker is a new invention that could stop this from happening.
Imagine that you are driving and begin to nod off. The Integrated Eyetracker will be watching your eyes as you drive. The instant that the system notices that you are closing your eyes past a user-defined interval, it springs into action. What happens is that the system will alert the car that you are falling asleep and a loud alarm system will sound. This alarm will be so loud that you there is basically no way in which you could not hear it. The end result is that you are awaken and can pull over to the side of the road.
Digital Media Technology is working on the technology in Germany. The technology is able to work through the combined effort of six dashboard mounted cameras. Each camera will be equipped with a lens that is about 3 to 4 millimeters in diameter. These cameras will watch over the motorist. They will also be processing over 200 images per second. These images will identify the line of vision no matter where the driver is looking at the time.
The ability to capture eye movements from a number of different directions is very important. This is so that the cameras will be able to watch the pupils at all times. Once the pupil is no longer seen the system will know that something is wrong. As stated before, the car will then be alerted and a loud alarm will sound. The technology is able to work by using a steering wheel sensor system designed by Fujitsu.
The only sad news is that the technology is not that close to be commercially available. This is because inventions like this need to go through strategic safety testing to ensure that it is operational at the highest levels of performance. It will be interesting to see how automobile manufacturers act upon the technology when it goes up for sale. We can only hope that it comes out sooner than later because it can only mean more safe drivers on the road for the rest of us.
It should be noted that this information comes from an up close review by the author.
Steven Mottor, My Own Review, 2010
Vision Trade Expo, http://www.biztradeshows.com/trade-events/vision-expo.html, 2010