Saturday, June 17, 2017

Scientific Cellphone Apps with Unusual Health Purposes #Science

Professor Cheung Yiu-ming demonstrates the fatigue driving detection and alarm system to alert a drowsy driver.

Credit: Hong Kong Baptist University

The new approach adopts a smartphone's real-time video to track and analyse the facial features of a driver, in particular the changes in his eyelids and head position, which are prominent fatigue symptoms. With this system pre-installed in a generic smartphone, a driver just has to put it near the steering wheel with the front camera facing him in his normal driving position. When the camera captures features like drooping eyelids, drowsiness or even nodding off, an alarm is automatically set off. To ensure that the driver is awakened, the driver has to turn off the alarm either by voice or by hand.

How about a cellphone app which can detect when you're sleepy and alert you ought to stop driving.  (Science Daily:  Smartphone app detects and alerts sleepy drivers)

There you see the concept and the interested student is invited to read the article to pursue the fullness of it but the Rockhouse wonders would you use it and, if so, would you heed it?

Engineers Yogeswaran Umasankar and Ahmed Jalal examine a sensor.

Credit: Image courtesy of Florida International University (FIU)

Activity trackers monitor your steps; this innovative sensor measures your blood alcohol level. Worn like a watch, this sensor picks up vapors from the skin and sends the data to a server. If the alcohol reading is high, via an app, a designated loved one gets an alert to check in on the user. This easy-to-wear gadget will help address issues with social drinking and addiction.

"We wanted to create an unobtrusive sensor that would be easy to wear, and help people struggling with alcohol," said the inventor, Shekhar Bhansali, an Alcatel Lucent professor and chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "This is one step toward active intervention that only requires the user wear the sensor."

How about a wearable device to keep track of your tracking and alert to excesses.  (Science Daily:  Wearable sensor helps people keep tabs on drinking)

The Rockhouse questions whether this one will do much.  We're aware of what happens when we start drinking and usually we either slow down at that point or continue into the world of probably bad judgments.  Once you cross over, it doesn't seem the chance of heeding the alerts will be particularly high.  However, the device may have value for someone who isn't able to well distinguish where that crossover point lies.

In our non-engineering lives, most of us come to the conclusion nothing works with people who are addicted to anything until they recognize the addiction and want to stop.  Then we can pour on the goodness and possibly bring this person back home but we know painfully well that prior to that time it's a heartache with not much solution.

We won't end on that since we know of two shining examples of those in deep trouble with opiates who did come home and they're shining to this day.  There was another in my own direct experience in which she dropped the opiates and that was one of my life's strangest experiences.  She went doctor shopping to get her opiates but the pharmacies around were onto it and they were cutting her off.  I was there when she realized, whoa, I'm an addict.

The counseling session which followed that is something you mustn't be privy to know and the significant point is she didn't go back.  I'm not trying to take credit for that but I do think a little part of it might be ok.

It's not over when opiates eat someone since that person can come back but really. really has to want to do it and has help to succeed.  I know from my own life these things are true; this is not movie lore.

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