Dan Ruffle, an Industrial Design and Technology student at Brunel University, has designed a device that is set to reduce the number of crashes on the roads due to driver fatigue.
AAlert, a rubber device that is worn as a bracelet, combines motion with reaction time to determine whether or not a driver is suffering from driver fatigue. While driving, if a driver doesn’t move his or her wrist for more than 15 seconds, a vibration is sent to the bracelet and AAlert requires the driver to move their wrist to stop the vibration.
By measuring the reaction times to the vibration, AAlert is able to determine whether or not the driver is suffering from driver fatigue. The slower the reaction to the vibration, the more likely it is that the driver is fatigued and should take a break from the wheel.
Driver fatigue is a serious problem in the UK and results in thousands of road accidents each year. Although it is not possible to calculate the number of sleep related accidents because of the difficulty in detecting whether fatigue is a factor, research shows that up to 20 per cent of accidents on monotonous roads, such as motorways, are fatigue related.
Speaking about his design, Ruffle said, “All too frequently we switch on the TV and see the latest road crash, which has been attributed to driver fatigue. With this in mind, I decided to design an affordable product that would have the potential to save lives on the road. AAlert does just that.
“There are many drivers that listen to their bodies and take a break when they get tired. But it’s the drivers that ignore the feelings of tiredness and continue to drive that are a risk to themselves and others. By using AAlert, drivers will be given a clear warning of when they are in danger, and that is one warning that they won’t be able to ignore.”
Paul Turnock, Design Director at the School of Engineering and Design at Brunel University, said, “AAlert is a simple device that could potentially save many, many lives. Dan spent time looking into road crashes and what could be done to reduce the numbers on an annual basis. The device uses an RFID tag, which is positioned in the car and only starts to detect whether the driver is tired when he or she is driving. It’s so simple, yet so effective.”
Ruffle is showcasing his design at the University’s upcoming “Made in Brunel” exhibition, alongside other Design and Engineering final year students’ projects.