Students Use Video Game Technology for New Live-Saving Device


Like a lot of technology obsessed young people, before they were students here at Johns Hopkins University, they were video gamers.

An unlikely recipe now for potentially saving young lives.

As a teen, Anshul Mehra had no idea that Call of Duty might lead to saving children left in hot cars.

But there it is, the prototype device designed to prove that the slightest motions made by a sleeping child left accidentally in a car can be detected, setting off alarms.

Mehra was part of a team of seniors at Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering who solved the problem just before their graduation in May, by doing what they know.

What they know is video games, particularly games run by Microsoft's X-Box 360 Kinect device, $250 dollar off-the shelf system that uses motion detection technology to turn your entire body into a game controller.

Mehra explains, "Basically, it's detecting my body, taking the feedback, seeing what kind of motion and comparing it to what it wants me to do. And you can use that in different ways. You can use that to even protect children who are left in the back of a car"

As Leslie Foster demonstrated Monday (07/08), the interior of a car goes to life-threatening temperatures in a matter of minutes.

Tragic recent deaths this week include a child left in a car near Baltimore when a dad apparently forgot to drop the baby at daycare. And the charging of a mother in Arlington, who also apparently forgot she had a sleeping baby in back when she left her car in the sun.

Mehra and his fellow students of course got an A on this final project. But that was not the point. Now that they've proved this technology can be adapted -- they want to see child detection systems in cars as common as airbags..

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