editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Asleep At the Wheel

Some time back we took a look at Plessey’s EPIC sensor, which can monitor electric fields of various kinds and strengths. They’ve identified a number of applications that can interpret the field signal and – hopefully – make smart decisions.

They recently announced a new application that I certainly could have used over the summer as I went on a 7500-mile roadtrip: the ability to detect whether a driver is sleepy. It’s sort of amusing that they talk in terms of this being an improvement over a traditional ECG in the car: I can’t say as I’ve ever seen someone driving down the road with shirt off and wires hanging off of gel contacts. <Stops to reflect again…> Nope… pretty sure I never saw that.

That aside, the software required to process the signal and interpret what’s going on sounds every bit like sensor fusion software, except that it’s not fusing more than one sensor. Just as with AMS’s lightning sensor, they have to process the signal in a way that rejects what it considers spurious information and keep the good stuff. When fusing sensors, deciding that one sensor’s signal isn’t being helpful is where the data from a different sensor can come in to fill the gap – like a compass helping to correct a gyro. It’s just that here, there’s no plan B to fill in. So the useful signal has to be strong enough (or the algorithm’s ability to discriminate a weak signal has to be strong enough) to give high confidence.

They also talk about ways of minimizing noise based on sensor placement. In particular, focusing several sensors in the seat back lower down (to minimize noise from movement), putting the capacitive driven ground plane under the seat to hide it, and attaching the steering wheel to that ground. They’ve got an eval kit consisting of a six-sensor seat back and the ground plane for automotive folks to check out.

You can find more details in their release

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Mar 22, 2019
In the video above, it might not appear that much is taking place, but just like with transformers there is “more than meets the eye.” Alright, that was corny, and I am mildly ashamed, but Nanosecond Event Detection for shock and vibration is nothing to be ashamed...
Mar 22, 2019
Christopher Wray, the current (and the 8th) Director of the FBI, wrapped up the opening keynote session, in discussion with Susan Hennessey of the Brookings Institution. Change Your Facebook Password... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community s...
Mar 21, 2019
A Race to the Finish: Announcing the Winners of the 2019 3D InCites Awards Mentor Embedded Linux launch targets enterprise-class gap Using AI Data For Security How to optimize your testbench-to-DUT connections VCSEL Technology Takes Off A Race to the Finish: Announcing the...
Jan 25, 2019
Let'€™s face it: We'€™re addicted to SRAM. It'€™s big, it'€™s power-hungry, but it'€™s fast. And no matter how much we complain about it, we still use it. Because we don'€™t have anything better in the mainstream yet. We'€™ve looked at attempts to improve conven...