Monday, May 2, 2011

Test of the Distracted Driving Eye Reader Unit

Just wanted to write this up before I went to the SEMA Summit.

I tested a product called the driver fatigue alarm system. I am much better at expressing myself with the spoken compared to the written word but I will do my best to make this comprehensible.

I picked this up on my last visit to China and the product works by using a scanner that can read your eye movement and then will signal you to “Please Pay Attention to the Road” (in a Man’s Voice) or “Please Concentrate on Driving” on the road in a Women Voice. I drove with it for 35 hours driving from Los Angeles to Virginia Beach (in 3 days) and here are some things that I noticed. You can see the picture I posted. It has a Camera in the middle and what I think are infared lights around the edges. At night the infared lights were red in color but during the day you could not even see they were on. There is also a green light that is on that flashes when your head begins to turn.

First of all I learned that I am a very distracted driver. Just when I was starting to drive and went to program my GPS the unit told me to “Please Pay Attention to the Road” I continued to receive this warning when I tried to change radio stations, talked on the phone and was not paying attention (my phone was hands free) looked at deer on the side of the road, (or roadkill) reached over to pick up a burger or fry that was on the passenger seat or looked at tornado damage. I took my eyes off the road a lot during my 35 hours of driving. It would first give you a warning in a polite voice and if you did not look back at the road then it would start a very obnoxious beeping.

I think the unit was effective. It had multiple warnings but when I was driving long stretch of roads I could go an hour or longer without a reminder. It did not work as well on winding roads as your head would need to turn to follow the road and the indicator would tell you to “Please Concentrate on your Driving” It also seemed to go off unexpectedly when the road was very bumpy or wavy so there was a lot of movement in the vehicle. I also was not happy how it performed in the cities where you had to move your head a lot more as you made turns from one road to another and had to scan a lot more for safety reasons to drive. You cannot always just keep your head pointing forward. There is a 2 second lag time though and most of the time this seemed adequate but if you were on a small road pulling onto a major road and had to keep your head turned for an extended period of time to wait for a clear spot to pull out the beeping was a little too much. I did end up unplugging it during phone calls because as I continued to move my head it became a point of conversation for those that were calling me. I also would unplug it when I was driving on local roads as my head needed to move much more then the unit would allow.

It also did not seem to be real consistent. It has 3 sensitivity setting and I ran it at the most sensitive for the whole drive but sometimes it seemed very sensitive and other times it was not as sensitive. It seemed to make a difference if you were wearing a ball cap or not and it seemed to work best when wearing no hat but wearing Sunglasses. It seemed to work better on those then with my regular glasses or no glasses at all. In fact sometimes I wondered if it was reading head movement instead of looking at my eyes but I never did dare to just close my eyes for 2 seconds while I was driving to see if the warning would go off. The other thing is that whenever I rested my hand on top of the steering wheel it would block the eye reader and I would get the warning.

The other thing I noticed is that it seemed to work better at night then during the day and seemed to be worse when the Sun was shining in the back window directly into the sensors on the unit. I would guess for the 15 minutes or so of direct sunlight that came at Sunset (I was driving east) that the sensors seemed to not work at all. I also would guess that it worked better at night because you are not as distracted as you cannot see deer and other things off the side of the road that would attract your attention.

In conclusion I would say that the unit works but it is much better for long haul drivers then city drivers. I showed one guy at a truck stop and they commented that it sounded like his wife but at least he would not have to feed it or stop to let her go to the bathroom and he could always unplug it if it got too annoying. I think that all parents who have children that have a tendency to text and drive would benefit by having one of these in their car. On the few occasions that I dipped my head to check an email on my blackberry the buzzer went off. I do have to say that it did make me pay more attention to the road and also made me realize how often I take my eyes off the road while driving.

It did work but I would think it would be something you would not want in your vehicle 24/7. It would be good use for long drives and to put in some one’s car who you know had a problem with texting and driving. You would just have to make a unit you could not shut off for them.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Did I do the right thing? Should I have been more aggressive?

So here is what happened to me the other day. It was Tuesday AM and I was talking the Shuttle from that Parking Spot Garage to United Airlines Terminal to Catch my flight.

The driver of the Shuttle was doing his job and dropping people off at their terminals. It was early in the morning, about 6:30. When we got to the Delta Terminal the driver got out of the shuttle and helped a lady with her bags. She gave him a couple of bucks but then before he got back in the shuttle he stepped forward and picked up something off the ground. It was black and looked like a wallet to me. Then he got back in the shuttle and shut the door and waited to get back into traffic. While he was waiting a well dressed black man with a hat that looked like a french beret and a nice scarf and jacket came out and started to look around his truck for something he had lost. He seemed upset and I knew that what he was looking for was most likely the item that the driver had picked up. Before I had a chance to say something the driver pulled out into traffic and was heading toward the next stop which was my terminal.

This really bothered me so when I got out of the shuttle I mentioned to the driver that he should have given the guy his wallet. He told me he did not take a wallet and then pulled out something that looked like a black bag that you would put sunglasses or some other valuable items in. I was walking away from the shuttle and did not want to engage him, I just wanted to be his conscience.

Now my question to you is? Should I have said something earlier so the guy would return it when we were still stopped? There was a very narrow window to do that. Should I have said something right when he picked it up? Should I have said nothing?

I like the pay it forward type attitude. You see someone doing good and then you do good. I also like the Karma concept or what goes around comes around. These are nice ways to think and rationalize doing right but we all know that deep down good people will do good things and bad people will do bad things.

So what do you think?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A lot has happened to me in the last Month

First of all the day after I cut my hand I was supposed to fly to Japan. That was the day of the big earthquake so they cancelled my flight (I was lucky my flight was not 12-15 hours earlier or I would have been in Japan during the earthquake).

With the cancelling of my flight I had time to go get my hand stiched up. The doctor reprimanded me because I went in after the wound was already 24 hours old but she still did her best to sew it up.

I then was back at a Police Cheif Show in Utah about 10 days after that. We were selling tons of knives and lights (it seems like Men need their knives and lights as much as Women need new shoes) and we had a guy in the booth just up from ours that would use our Stun Gun that looks like a cell phone. (See Picture) and he would stun himself. Each time he stunned himself we had 3-4 people come over to our booth and buy these stun guns.

This was crazy. When I was at the Shot Show we had people who would stun themselves but never more then once like this guy was doing. He would grimace and say how much it hurt each time but would still continue to stun him.

Any way the Stun Guns are also moving very well for personal protection. We can hardly keep them in stock and it seems like most that see them buy them because of the sharp prie points.

I am heading to China next week. Hopefully no natural disasters to keep me grounded here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I need to stay away from Shows in Vegas

I have not blogged for a while. I had lots of things to say about lots of things that interest me and possibly no one else but I had some interesting things happen to me at the Sheriff Conference.

I always like the Sheriff Conference's. They are always very interesting and informative. I met a Sheriff who told me the story of finding a man who was raising 47 pit bulls for fighting. They took the dogs and sent them to a shelter (pit bull relocator) in Vegas and all but 7 were adopted.

I met the Sheriff who was in charge of the incident where the man fell down the mining shaft in Northern Nevada and could not be rescued. Another Sheriff told me about an incident they had involving some border crossing problems and many many other stories. Sheriffs are often the most important person in their counties and they are mostly personable and good people.

The reason I may need to stay away from Vegas though has nothing to do with the Sheriffs or the obvious losing money at the tables and the machines it has to do with hurting myself. We now carry a nice line of knives. While taking down the booth I got into it with a knive and ended up stabbing my hand. Look at this pic. It is kind of gross but a picture is worth a thousand words.