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
Jul 6, 2022
With the DRAM fabrication advancing from 1x to 1y to 1z and further to 1a, 1b and 1c nodes along with the DRAM device speeds going up to 8533 for Lpddr5/8800 for DDR5, Data integrity is becoming a... ...
Jul 6, 2022
Design Automation Conference (DAC) 2022 is almost here! Explore EDA and cloud design tools, autonomous systems, AI, and more with our experts in San Francisco. The post DAC 2022: A Glimpse into the World of Design Automation from the Cloud to Cryogenic Computing appeared fir...
Jun 28, 2022
Watching this video caused me to wander off into the weeds looking at a weird and wonderful collection of wheeled implementations....

featured video

Synopsys 112G Ethernet IP Interoperating with Optical Components & Equalizing E-O-E Link

Sponsored by Synopsys

This OFC 2022 demo features the Synopsys 112G Ethernet IP directly equalizing electrical-optical-electrical (E-O-E) channel and supporting retimer-free CEI-112G linear drive for low-power applications.

Learn More

featured paper

3 key considerations for your next-generation HMI design

Sponsored by Texas Instruments

Human-Machine Interface (HMI) designs are evolving. Learn about three key design considerations for next-generation HMI and find out how low-cost edge AI, power-efficient processing and advanced display capabilities are paving the way for new human-machine interfaces that are smart, easily deployable, and interactive.

Click to read more

featured chalk talk

Hot-Swap and Power Protection -- Mouser Electronics and Analog Devices

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Analog Devices

When it comes to our always-on, critical systems we need to carefully consider power protection and maintainability. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton and Dwight Larson investigate the issues that surround hot-plugging into an energized power supply, the best solutions to consider, what the different hot-swap circuit topologies look like for a variety of applications and why the MAX15090B/C with its innovative current foldback startup may be the best solution for your next design.

Click here for more information about Maxim Integrated MAX15090B/MAX15090C Hot Swap ICs