Oct 2, 2019

New Research Reveals How Apple Watch May Just Be Able To Prevent Car Crashes

Today, internet connected vehicles try to integrate several safety features, such as utilizing radar and cameras to detect imminent crashes and sometimes even take over brakes and controls to avoid the accident. At the very least, the vehicle will emit visual and audible warnings increasingly loud to allow the driver to take action to prevent an incident.

While the system (also known as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, or ADAS) offers the driver with excellent assistance, but it's certainly debatable whether or not the effect be counterproductive and reduce the driver's safety alertness? These issues have lately been brought up by new research from the University of Missouri School of Engineering.

Researchers claim challenges that these systems face can attribute to two classifications: first, warnings fatigue, and second, brief, simple distraction.

However, an easy feature that can be added to a smartwatch like Apple Watch can provide a nice alternative.

Jung Hyup Kim, an assistant professor of industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering at the University of Missouri's College of Engineering, and the lead author of the study, along with graduate student Xiaonan Yang, proposed a new solution that will attempt to determine if the driver is aware of the safety issue and is actively taking necessary measures to disable the system. The filtering of the warnings causes it to emit sound when it is needed.

Kim's system predicts the driver's impending physical response to avoiding a collision warning by using the ratio of pupil diameter changes and EMG responses as two physiological indicators.

The first step is to equip the dashboard with a camera to monitor driver's eyes and look for changes that show that if one is already stressed, and a wrist-based sensor will be able to track changes in muscle tension. The wrist-based sensor could be on a smartwatch, for instance, Apple Watches or Fitbits.

Electromyography (EMG) is an electrical diagnostic medical technique used to assess and record electrical activity produced by skeletal muscle. It has been widely used to classify human poses, quantifying muscle strength levels by decoding user intent and indicating the patient's physical activity in health care. If Apple is willing, it can smoothly embed EMG sensors in future Apple Watches and then bring it to any car brand such as Toyota or GMC to become part of ADAS.

In this way, the EMG data acquired by the Apple Watch enters the the so-called Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, which can help to correctly determine whether the driver is in a state of muscle tension, thus, enough to respond to the road condition and the vehicle condition in time, something that will effectively improve driving safety and cut down the number invalid warnings.

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