Five first-year students at the Singapore University of Technology and Design have invented the Risk Watch, which consists of a watch and ring that monitors a driver’s heart rate.
The device stimulates the driver as an alarm if they begin to nod off while on the road, according to The New Paper.
The creators, SUTD students Aiden Chia, 21, Jason Swee, 23, Laura Ong, 19, Odelia Tan, 20, and Loo Jun Wen, 21, came up with the Risk Watch during their Introduction to Design Module as a way to save lives on the road.
It was also one of 87 SUTD student projects featured at the university’s Technological Body exhibition.
“We thought of working on a noise-cancelling device that could allow people to isolate themselves from the noisy environment when they needed to concentrate or sleep,” Chia told Vulcan Post in an interview. “We were also thinking of solving problems that the elderly faced, seeing how important it is considering how Singapore and many other places in the world are facing an aging population.”
The team also wanted to tackle problems that they all faced as engineering and architecture students at SUTD: sleepless nights and general fatigue.
His teammate Jun Wen, recalled not getting any sleep as he took on late night patrols during his National Service.
“Thankfully, he (Jun Wen) did not get into any accident in his two years, but he was always worried that something may happen one day if he was not careful,” said Aiden.
He also worried about his father’s safety when he goes out for his night shift as taxi driver.
“I was worried for him as well as he drives long hours and he is advancing in years, and it would be great if there was some kind of device that could help keep him awake,” he said.
The team started out wanting to detect the driver’s state of sleepiness using an individual’s heart rate on their wrist, saying it was “the ‘standard’ model for many existing products like Fitbit, Apple Watch, etc.”
But they realized that noise also got picked up by the heart rate monitors, resulting in inaccurate readings.
They decided to modify the device a little bit by placing it at the finger instead.
“We designed a wrist-band with a silicon-glove in order to house the heart rate monitor,” explained Aiden.
The setup did give accurate readings, but having it on all the time would be to uncomfortable for the driver.
“It also makes it difficult [for drivers] to pick up items and grab the wheel,” said Aiden.
The team eventually settled on a watch with a ring design.
“The ring would house the heart rate monitor, while the watch would house the rest of the electrical components: Arduino, light bulbs, vibration motor, battery etc. We felt that it was the best compromise between all the constraints in the end,” explained Aiden.
The team’s project was one of six shortlisted, and Aiden reveals their plans for the Watch’s future:
“We were thinking of incorporating a AI device like Siri/Alexa that can ‘talk’ to the driver to keep him her awake. We can work on making the heart rate monitor able to accurately ‘discover’ each person’s baseline heart rate accurately, as well as possibly some machine learning that can ‘learn’ when any particular driver’s sleepy patterns.”
“Our future plans [also] include using industrial-grade prototyping to make the product even better,” he said.