PS25502 EPIC Vehicle Seat Sensor Development Kit
PS25502PAD is a novel solution to monitor driver fatigue based on Plessey’s multi-award winning EPIC sensor technology. An array of EPIC electric potential sensors is built into a vehicle seat pad to enable manufacturers to evaluate this exciting new technology. The EPIC sensor array is concealed under a removable cover. Electrical artifact noise caused by movement is minimized by placing the sensors on the lower part of the seat back, away from the shoulders. The system uses a conductive capacitive “driven-ground-signal” plane, placed under the seat cover fabric on the base of the seat, to form a system completely hidden from the car occupant. Additional noise reduction can be achieved by coupling this “driven-ground-signal” to the steering wheel. The system has been demonstrated to be immune from electrical noise sources within the vehicle, detecting > 95% of heart beat peaks over a variety of driving conditions.
Until recently, measuring an ECG signal in a car, truck or airplane meant having a set of electrodes attached to driver’s chest skin using gel and tape. However, because the EPIC sensor utilizes capacitive coupling, it can actually measure ECG through normal clothing and seat cover fabric without actual skin contact. By monitoring a parameter called Heart Rate Variability (HRV) - a measure of how stable the heart rate is from beat to beat - it is possible to tell when the driver is starting to become drowsy.
Studies have shown that driver fatigue may be a contributory factor in up to 20% of road accidents and up to 25% of fatal and serious accidents. Aircraft and industrial machinery accidents also reflect similar statistics. Manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to make their vehicles safer especially since safety can be a strong selling point, and financial and emotional losses due to sleeping drivers or operators are enormous. Aircraft accidents in particular not only cause untold personal damage, they also tarnish the safety record of both the airline and the aircraft maker. An array of EPIC electric potential sensors can be built into a vehicle seat back, with optimal sensing location chosen to eliminate differences in the operators’ height and build, with the potential of improving operator alertness.
The Plessey EPIC Vehicle Evaluation Kit includes: a seat pad containing a six EPIC sensor array on the back portion and a ground plane on the base, an interface box with a USB output to a PC, USB cable, and software for display and recording.