The story appears on

Page A5

November 24, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro » Public Services

Invention to tell if you're too tired or drunk to drive

COMING someday to a roadside police stop near you -- a cap that can tell cops whether you're too drunk or too tired to drive by reading your brain waves.

The headwear sounds like science fiction, but it's being developed by scientists at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

They're working on an invention to gauge drivers' alertness -- the ability to make rapid responses -- by using sensors to analyze what's going on in their heads.

The research, revealed at the Microsoft Research Asia Symposium yesterday, was welcomed by traffic police, often hampered by uncooperative drivers during alcohol breath tests.

"The technology will help reduce traffic accidents, considering most accidents are caused by fatigued driving and drunk driving," said Zhang Liqing, a professor at the university's Center for Brain-like Computing.

As Zhang described it, the cap will be packed with complex sensors to collect and convert people's brain waves into information, which can be processed by a computer.

The computer will compare the signals with standard brain-wave patterns and determine whether a driver's alertness has been weakened by fatigue or alcohol.

Intelligent vehicles, equipped with the device, would be able to warn drivers or even stop automatically if fatigue or drunk driving is detected.

A working model for the technology is expected in the next two years, Zhang said.

Local traffic police sound enthusiastic about the invention, which would help them deal with uncooperative drivers.

"If drivers are unwilling to exhale in the alcohol breath tests, there's nothing we can do," said Yu Dalei, an official with Shanghai Traffic Police.

"We always welcome high-tech equipment, as long as it's easy to carry and to operate in real practice and not too expensive," he added.

Researchers are now working to reduce the device's size, simplify its operation and reduce its cost.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend