Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Transportation Technology

Digital Dashboard Device Detects Driver Drowsiness 117

Posted by timothy
from the string-between-ceiling-and-nostril dept.
Pickens writes "Science Daily Headlines reports that researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology have developed a self-contained, dashboard-mounted assistant system that tracks a driver's eye movements and issues a warning before the driver has an opportunity to nod off to sleep. 'What we have developed is a small modular system with its own hardware and programs on board, so that the line of vision is computed directly within the camera itself,' says Professor Husar. 'Since the Eyetracker is fitted with at least two cameras that record images stereoscopically — meaning in three dimensions — the system can easily identify the spatial position of the pupil and the line of vision.' The cameras, which can be installed in any model of car, evaluate up to 200 images per second to identify the line of vision. If the camera modules detect that the eye is closed for longer than a user-defined interval, it sounds an alarm. The Eyetracker also has applications in computer games where players could look around themselves without requiring a joystick to change their viewing direction, and in marketing and advertising, where researchers could determine which parts of a poster or advertising spot receive longer attention from their viewers."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Digital Dashboard Device Detects Driver Drowsiness

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 15, 2010 @07:07AM (#33906566)

    I think the title has only got Ds in it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 15, 2010 @07:08AM (#33906570)
    does it also sell sea shells by the sea shore?
    • probably prefers to pick a peck of pickled peppers

    • by Abstrackt (609015)

      If she really wanted to make a killing on the sea shell market she shouldn't sell them right next to the spot people can pick them up for free. In that scenario, the only supporters of her business would be friends and family who don't have to heart to tell her how little chance there is for her to make a living on it. If anything, she should sell sea shells somewhere like New York, where the only crustaceans are on your plate.

    • does it also sell sea shells by the sea shore?

      I think this one Deals Dogfish, Dockside.

  • I see no problems in making this mandatory in traffic a.s.a.p.
    Worst case scenario is that a silly alarm goes off when the system makes a mistake. It has very few disadvantages... the price is probably the biggest problem. Best case scenario is that it saves the lives of a number of people, saves the relatives a lot of grief, saves the health system a lot of work, the taxpayers a lot of money, etc...

    I'm a little sad to see that advertisers have already seen opportunities to use this to improve marketing tric

    • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday October 15, 2010 @07:23AM (#33906666)
      I wonder if this thing will detect the eyes of a drunk driver as someone who is too sleepy?
      • I wonder if this thing will detect the eyes of a drunk driver as someone who is too sleepy?

        Doesn't matter, neither of them should be driving. Even though sleepiness is not considered illegal.
        Maybe after a few warnings in a row the system should turn the engine off and apply breaks... gently.
        (mmm.. on a second thought, maybe reduce speed to a max of 5-10 mph... on a third... ok, maybe that's not a good idea while on the highway, but, isn't a slow drunk/sleepy driver preferred over a fast one? )

        • Doesn't matter, neither of them should be driving.

          I agree, which is why I wondered if it would give a drunk driver a warning. It could be just an extra reminder to someone that they shouldn't be driving. A giant fist coming out of their airbag is my first choice, but we all can't get what we want.

        • I'm not having some fucking camera in my vehicle that's keeping track of my eyes. I would poke the camera's eye out and bypass it if necessary, if I bought a car and it had that fitted as a mandatory "feature".

          The same with some mandatory intoxication detection device.

          People don't even necessarily close their eyes when they first start going hypnagogic so this isn't even going to be all that effective.

          It seems there are a lot of righteous, fearful people who think this is a good idea. Typical idiots who emp

          • by owlstead (636356)

            Uh, what exactly triggered this rant? I don't think the discussion of it being mandatory was anywhere in the parents post. Don't drink and type (said I after drinking 3 single malts and a very passable Bordeaux)!

            • No? I thought it was in the post I was replying to. (There are more than one advocating it to be mandatory) I must have replied to the wrong one.

              You're right though it was just a rant. I don't mean to offend (only) one specific person :-)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by chemicaldave (1776600)
      I imagine trucks would be the first to try this out as they driver for longer periods, and it seems to be that they have more sleep-related accidents (at least I see more reports about them).
      • by JWSmythe (446288)

        Bigger crashes make bigger news. If the driver of a tractor-trailer falls asleep at the wheel, that runaway truck can do significant damage. If the driver of a ford escort falls asleep at the wheel, he may cause some damage, but nothing comparable to the previous example.

        The media tends to pick up stories that involves the most blood, or the most dramatic scene. Here's an example. Several years ago, my sister was driving home, and the driver of an oncoming car fell asleep a

        • by cgenman (325138)

          While I agree that truckers are by and large a far more responsible bunch than we give them credit for (and than they used to be), they also seem to be early adopters of new technologies. GPS, for example. If there were anywhere that would start with these, I could see truck driver employers mandating their usage by their drivers. That doesn't seem any more intrusive than some of the other things truckers put up with, especially if the technology actually works as advertised. If the technology matures,

          • by JWSmythe (446288)

            You know, I got one of those calls. Well, I'm not a trucker, but I had set myself up with a tracking system in my car. It fed two cameras, and kept my site updated with coordinates, speed, heading, altitude, and automatically moved my marker on Google Maps. Around 3am, I was tired, so I pulled over in a rest area in California, Arizona, or New Mexico (I'm not sure which, it all looks the same). I laid my seat back to take a nap. I was only out for about 1/2 hour, when I got a panicked

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            While I agree that truckers are by and large a far more responsible bunch than we give them credit for (and than they used to be)

            I've been driving since 1968, and in my experience that's simply not true, at least in the US. Truckers use to drive VERY safely. The ones on the highways now drive like maniacs by comparison. They tailgate, pull out in front of you, speed, you name some bad driving practice and they'll do it.

            It didn't use to be like that.

    • As someone else wisely pointed out, if you're tired you're still far more likely to have an accident even if you don't fall asleep. If you really want to save relatives grief and the health system a lot of work, etc, you take a break.

      The Eyetracker also has applications in computer games where players could look around themselves without requiring a joystick to change their viewing direction

      The only possible use for that is when you have VR goggles. It would be pointless with a TV, as every time you try to look at something, it would move out of the way..

    • by telchine (719345) on Friday October 15, 2010 @07:35AM (#33906736)

      I see no problems in making this mandatory in traffic a.s.a.p.

      Drivers will oppose it. That's the main problem.

      Drivers usually know when they're tired, but they tend to drive anyway. They don't need some electronics to tell them this.

      They drive because they're impatient and not driving would be an inconvenience to them. It's not so much they don't care that they'll be involved in an accident, it's just that they don't think it'll happen to them.

      • by mapkinase (958129)

        That's why GP suggested "mandatory". Since when drivers were asked about any safety features?

        I do not remember being asked what I think about seat belts. It is slapped on me, though not me wearing seat belt very hardly affects anybody but me.

        That is what "mandatory" means. It means we will do it regardless whether you wanted or not. If drivers embrace the feature there is no need to make it mandatory, they will be asking for a feature themselves.

        • by H0p313ss (811249)

          I do not remember being asked what I think about seat belts. It is slapped on me, though not me wearing seat belt very hardly affects anybody but me.

          I guess you're too young to remember when seat belts were considered as controversial and radical as gay marriage, global warming and alternative power are now.

          • by mapkinase (958129)

            The difference between subjects being

            seabelt (concerns 1 person), gay marriage (2, if you are atheist, millions, if you are religious), global warming (potentially 6B), and alternative power (potentially 6B).

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Drivers usually know when they're tired, but they tend to drive anyway. They don't need some electronics to tell them this.

        Read TFS again. It sounds an alarm when your eyes are closed for more than a blink. I'd welcome this, as any sane person should. I'm not so sure I'd want it mandatory, but I know I would like one.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tftp (111690)

          It sounds an alarm when your eyes are closed for more than a blink. I'd welcome this, as any sane person should.

          There are several problems here.

          The first problem is that tired people are not necessarily closing their eyes. What happens is that they drift away in their thoughts and lose concentration; they keep looking but stop seeing. A camera like that can't help here. An EEG helmet might be more effective but totally impractical.

          The second problem is that in southern states (CA to FL) you must use

      • by owlstead (636356)

        I don't get it. But I know a lot of drivers that would be very much helped with this device. Many people would like to have a warning when they actually doze off. I had a friend who had a night job while he was obviously the wrong person for it. He crashed his car after falling asleep behind the wheel. He could hardly have stayed at the factory floor though. If he could have a (preferably cheap) device that went off when actually falling asleep he would have pounced on it.

        If it would issue a warning if you

    • by Nonillion (266505)

      sarcasm=1
      Why not go one step further and make ignition interlocks mandatory as standard equipment. GM and Toyota are working on this as we speak. It's all about safety, right?
      sarcasm=0

      • by JWSmythe (446288)

        [standing on his sarcasm box]

            I propose that we all can tag vehicles for being stupid. If enough people flag them as being stupid drivers, they are removed from the road. There's no in-car interlock that seems to work well enough to keep stupid people from driving.

        [stepping away from his sarcasm box]

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MatthewCCNA (1405885)
      If you could prove a statistically significant savings of life I'd have no objections, however, I'm tired of the recent string of laws designed to roads safer but only serve to make it look like politicians are doing something positive. Forcing a law through that could potentiality save 100s of lives but inconveniences all driver is a mistake if the 100s of lives amount to less than 0.0001% of the people driving.
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Forcing a law through that could potentiality save 100s of lives but inconveniences all driver is a mistake

        I would normally tend to agree with you; I've worn seat belts since long before they were mandatory (not wearing on almost killed me), but I was and am against mandating them, at least for adults. Your not wearing a seat belt isn't going to harm me. But this is a completely different animal. If you fall asleep at the wheel you're liable to hit me head on. How would this device in any way inconvinience

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TaoPhoenix (980487)

      Nope.

      However for your good faith effort I will reply rather than mark you troll.

      "Let's make it mandatory! Then every infraction will be posted to the police, and the media, and maintained on a public page. Captain Panic, who was pulled over on suspicion of driving tired, pleaded not guilty, saying that he was just trying to figure out more information about the grooved pavement in front of him."

      "Pshaw! Likely story!"

      "Captain Panic's employer has been contacted and his hours have been cut since, as he cannot

      • Nope.

        However for your good faith effort I will reply rather than mark you troll.

        "Let's make it mandatory! Then every infraction will be posted to the police, and the media, and maintained on a public page. Captain Panic, who was pulled over on suspicion of driving tired, pleaded not guilty, saying that he was just trying to figure out more information about the grooved pavement in front of him."

        "Pshaw! Likely story!"

        "Captain Panic's employer has been contacted and his hours have been cut since, as he cannot drive properly rested, he must be working too hard."

        No, surveillance measures are all to easily abused in this Orwellian Age.

        But there are GPS systems that will beep if it detects you break the speed limit. Nobody seems to oppose those systems?
        Safety features are a unique sales point - the first seatbelts were not enforced by law, but were instead invented by the Volvo car company.
        In fact, cars are full of automated warning lights, beeps, and safeguards (oil temperature, tire pressure, rev limiters, sensors detecting which seats are used and whether the person wears the seatbelt, rain sensors, light sensors, etc, etc)... what's t

        • But there are GPS systems that will beep if it detects you break the speed limit. Nobody seems to oppose those systems?

          *raises hand* ... I do. The ability to have my movements and speed monitored are the primary reason I never have, and never will have, GPS implanted in my car. For that matter, I also turn the GPS radios off in my cell phones unless I am going on a hike alone or something similar.

        • Fair answer, hence why I held off on downmodding.
          (Though if I were to accuse, you're right I should be thinking flamebait, not troll.) But I'm not because I read your post twice and it's in good faith.

          Unfortunately Super-Surveillance is all the rage right now. You're perfectly right that this tired-sensor does not *yet* talk to the police... but I fear it's "when-not-if" in these matters. Sadly, this has led me to look for the abusability of anything these days.

          If you want to amp this up to "official notify

    • by sjames (1099)

      Lets not! Especially since it could have the perverse effect if increasing traffic accidents.

      If you're trying to stay awake driving, you have already been driving unaware BEFORE your eyes close. If you have a device that will supposedly let you know if there's a problem, you might be more tempted to try driving when you shouldn't be.

      The other applications are far more interesting, appropriate, and cost effective.

  • Trouble ahead ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JasterBobaMereel (1102861) on Friday October 15, 2010 @07:20AM (#33906638)

    So rather than 10 crashes because people fell asleep...

    We have 20 crashes because rather than stopping for a coffee and a rest people relied on this and crashed when the alarm went off ...

    If you are driving tired you are an accident waiting to happen .. falling asleep is just the worst case

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nunojsilva (1019800)

      And I wonder what if the system detects it correctly, issues an alarm, but the driver doesn't wake up with the alarm? Maybe the environment is already noisy (for sound alarms), has lots of lights (light alarms) or the car is shaking a lot (vibration alarms). Or maybe the person is so tired that the alarm doesn't work at all.

      I think someone should just not drive when tired. If a person is aware that may fall into sleep at any moment, then maybe it's just stupid to drive anything.

    • by Zakabog (603757) <john@NOSPAm.jmaug.com> on Friday October 15, 2010 @07:34AM (#33906726)

      So rather than 10 crashes because people fell asleep...

      We have 20 crashes because rather than stopping for a coffee and a rest people relied on this and crashed when the alarm went off ...

      If you are driving tired you are an accident waiting to happen .. falling asleep is just the worst case

      I imagine the opposite, where the alarm sounds off and the driver goes and takes a rest rather than continuing driving. Or in a scenario with passengers, one of the passengers say 'Hey you're falling asleep let me drive/take a rest.' It'd be harder for the driver to say 'I'm fine to drive' when there's an alarm like this going off ever few minutes.

    • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Friday October 15, 2010 @07:34AM (#33906732)

      So rather than 10 crashes because people fell asleep...
      We have 20 crashes because rather than stopping for a coffee and a rest people relied on this and crashed when the alarm went off

      I really don't think that people are so stupid that they will think that they are not tired because a car alarm hasn't gone off. Do you also think that people won't use brakes because they can stop by driving into a wall and have the airbags protect them?

      If the car starts beeping to wake you up then you have long gone past the time that you should have stopped for a rest. While you might not actually close your eyes, extreme tiredness slows the reflexes to the same level as driving while intoxicated.

      • by RMH101 (636144) on Friday October 15, 2010 @07:51AM (#33906858)
        The problem here is that tiredness is something that a) creeps up on you, and b) impairs your ability to make judgements, including "am I too tired to drive?".
        I doubt there's anyone here who's been driving for a while who hasn't ended up driving at least once when they've become very tired, and it's taken a shock to make them realise how tired they actually were.
        • Well, yes. Which makes this alarm a good thing.

          The grandparent was claiming that it would increase the number of crashes by having this alarm. As you say, being tired can impair your judgement about whether you are tired. But that will not change whether you have an alarm fitted or not. If you are too tired to know you are tired, then you won't be consciously thinking that you can rely on the alarm.

          The alarm going off could be the necessary shock to which you referred to get the driver to pull over. So the

      • by Abstrackt (609015)

        I really don't think that people are so stupid that they will think that they are not tired because a car alarm hasn't gone off. Do you also think that people won't use brakes because they can stop by driving into a wall and have the airbags protect them?

        If the car starts beeping to wake you up then you have long gone past the time that you should have stopped for a rest. While you might not actually close your eyes, extreme tiredness slows the reflexes to the same level as driving while intoxicated.

        Most drivers feel they're above average (BBC article [bbc.co.uk]). While I don't think all people are as stupid as you describe, I have enough experience to believe that some are and those are the ones that worry me.

        I ended up behind a car with no brake lights one day so I gave him plenty of extra room to compensate. Another car ended up between us and rear-ended him at a red light. My theory is that they were waiting for the back of the car in front of them to light up before hitting the brakes.

        If you give someone

        • But do you believe that this safety feature would harm more lives than it saves? The number of people who doze off at the wheel will always be larger than the number of exceptionally stupid people who doze off at the wheel. And even then, a proportion of those stupid people will still be saved by this facility.

          It makes more sense to have the feature than to toss it out because a very small minority of people will abuse it.

      • by Combatso (1793216)
        I know we like to THINK people arent that stupid, unfortunately..... http://www.metronews.ca/toronto/canada/article/655600--gps-directions-strand-ontario-woman-in-swamp [metronews.ca]
      • People are like that. That Mercedes commercial royally ticks me off, with quotes like "I didn't realize I was drifting into the other lane" and "I didn't realize the car in front of me had stopped." Why the fuck are you driving then?! Yes, its a commercial, but there are really people like this on the road. The world revolves around them and they are not paying attention to what they are supposed to be doing, or their surroundings, or their state of mind. I would not doubt for a minute that these peopl

    • by cusco (717999)
      I've found that for long, boring drives such as Seattle to Bellingham a few coca leaves in the cheek work really well to maintain alertness. The last time I asked at the airport you were still allowed to bring less than a pound back from Peru.
    • by sznupi (719324)

      Better not rely like that on a coffee...

  • What if you, like me, drive while wearing these: http://rosem.aloak.ca/acatalog/250315.jpg [aloak.ca]
  • Title... (Score:1, Redundant)

    by alphax45 (675119)
    Needs more words that start with "D"
  • Great stuff (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chrisq (894406) on Friday October 15, 2010 @07:23AM (#33906668)
    I'll be able to keep going now when I'm driving late and tired instead of pulling in at a rest stop, knowing that the car will wake me. Technology has done so much for drivers, with ABS we don't need to slow down in snow and ice, air bags mean we don't need to bother with seat belts and cruise control means you don't need to look at the speedo.
    • There's a joke somewhere in there about cruising and looking at speedos, but I'm too tired to make it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      Don't you hate it when you're trying to make a joke and somebody mods you "insightful"? =)

      For the learning-impaired moderators:

      ABS isn't just for snow and ice. ABS will stop you faster slamming on the brakes on a dry surface than trying to keep from skidding without it; if the tires are skidding, they have almost zero traction, as was demonstrated in a driving course in the USAF. ABS will stop a car faster than the same car without it in any conditions. The added benefit is you can still steer with the brak

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by aaaantoine (1540357)

        ABS will stop you faster slamming on the brakes on a dry surface than trying to keep from skidding without it; if the tires are skidding, they have almost zero traction, as was demonstrated in a driving course in the USAF. ABS will stop a car faster than the same car without it in any conditions. The added benefit is you can still steer with the brakes slammed on.

        This is wrong. What ABS does is allow you to control the direction of your car when your tires would otherwise lose traction. In fact, the stopping distance with ABS is actually longer than without.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mcgrew (92797) *

          No, do some research. If your brakes are locked up all your "braking" is the friction between tire and road. When the wheels are turning the brakes change kenetik energy to heat. This was proven decades ago, it's elemental physics.

          For the test, they equip cars with a device with a gun that shoots chalk when the passenger presses a button, when the brakes are applied, and when the car is stopped. It's a VERY effective demonstration of reaction distance and stopping distance -- I've participated in this. I ag

  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Friday October 15, 2010 @07:24AM (#33906674)
    ++ Definitely Diminishing Distinct Danger
  • Is the Register's headline writer now working for slashdot ?
  • by elsurexiste (1758620) on Friday October 15, 2010 @07:38AM (#33906754) Journal
    Who cares about the article's content, when the title was written with 6 words that start with "D". It could have been better, though: "Digital Dashboard Device Diligently Detects Driver Drowsiness".
  • Because every day the sun shines there'll be thousands of cars at the side of the road with their sunglasses-wearing drivers taking a nap :-)
  • This is already in some Lexus models. Years ago..
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Combatso (1793216)
      Yes, but this is a stand-alone device anyone can slap on their dash... like when the GPS came out of the dash and became stand-alone... So I don't need to buy a brand new lexus to get the technology.. I can spend a few hundy and have it annoy me in my Jeep..
  • The Eyetracker also has applications in computer games where players could look around themselves without requiring a joystick to change their viewing direction

    Hum, if I look to my left all I see is the wall. So will this system also move the computer screen / tv around so I see what it is trying to show me in game?

  • Head movement (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Laser Dan (707106) on Friday October 15, 2010 @08:01AM (#33906944)

    I wonder how well it copes with head movement.

    TFA shows very zoomed in images of eyes and two large cameras, but they say the system is "half the size of a matchbox". If each camera plus processor is really so small, that's a pretty good system. And they say it can do it at 200 FPS? Thats a lot of image processing.

    I suspect they locate the eyes in a low resolution image first then just process the eye regions at 200 Hz, keeping them centred to account for head movement. Otherwise it would be impossible in the matchbox size with current DSPs.
    Anyone have more details?

  • Digital Dashboard Device Detects Driver Drowsiness, Delivers Desoxyn
  • "Hey! Stop staring at your passenger's breasts and look at the road!"
  • I was driving along and all of a sudden I woke up to a really annoying sound WHILE crashing in to a tree.

    I prefer not to have loud alarms going off while I am trying to get much-needed rest!
  • I'd like to see this adapted to work as a pointer interface. Screw drowsy drivers, Nerds everywhere can make better use of this tech.
  • I'd rather die quietly in my sleep, like my grandfather, than screaming in fear, like the people in his car
  • *bing* *bong*

    It looks like you are about to crash. Would you like me to:

    - Engage Google Autodrive?

    - Pre-load 911 into the OnStar system?

    - Locate your nearest next of kin on the GPS system?
  • A slight flaw (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shish (588640) on Friday October 15, 2010 @08:57AM (#33907476) Homepage

    The Eyetracker also has applications in computer games where players could look around themselves without requiring a joystick to change their viewing direction

    1) Player wants to move the in game camera left 45 degrees
    2) Player moves eyes left 45 degrees
    3) The camera moves successfully, but the player doesn't see that because their eyes were pointing at their desk lamp to the side of the monitor
    4) Not profit!

    • by martas (1439879)
      uhh, then don't move your eyes 45 degrees when you want a 45 degree turn. it could just be a standard joystick-like approach, where looking at the edge of the screen causes initiates turning until you look back at the center.
  • ...the drowsiness data will be fed directly to your insurance company, so that they can deny any claims that you make and raise your rates because of your "dangerous driving habits".

    Isn't progress grand?

  • I for one am looking forward to this. Time Crisis 2015: (Please look away from screen to reload)
  • This is great - it would also be ideal for, diabetes, heart conditions and other problems that could lead to loss of consciousness. Potentially it could also note the location of the user by GPS or mobile mast triangulation. That information could then be reported to their doctor, family, and local emergency services over the internet. Add a web portal, and there are all sorts of additional possibilities.
  • by blair1q (305137) on Friday October 15, 2010 @12:47PM (#33910388) Journal

    I give it a D.

  • Word for word [fark.com], that is.

    Can timothy confirm if he's the same person that submitted this to Fark? Or is Fark stealing headlines (with the added advantage of making money from t-shirts of the headline, should anyone wish to buy one)?

  • The MB 2010 E Class cars already have this. But I don't think it's calibrated for Asians. The thing won't shut off!
  • This is great until you realize you're cooking your retinas..

  • I know when I'm too tired to drive (which is far too often) - and I don't.
    I hope this ability for judgment carries over once I start drinking...

    I have noticed a surprising amount of analogies between sleep deprivation and intoxication; this is one.

CCI Power 6/40: one board, a megabyte of cache, and an attitude...

Working...