IIT-Kharagpur Odia Professor Invents Device To Maintain Watch On Sleepy Locomotive Drivers

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Bhubaneswar: Odia scientist and Professor at IIT-Kharagpur Aurobinda Routray has invented a device that will send alarm signal in case a locomotive train on duty in the engine dozes off while the train is on the move.

The device will alert the Railways authorities when a train driver goes into sleep while behind the wheels and also indicate whether he or she is fit enough to drive the train for long hours or not.

Disclosing about the invention to OST, Aurobindo Routray said the Railways board had contacted us showing interest in the device developed by us and we gave a detailed demonstration to the Kharagpur division of South Eastern Railways in the last week.

“The two technologies named ‘Walopi’ (Warning Loco Pilots) and ‘Chemvist’ (Check My Vigilance State), which have been patented by Routray and his team in the Electrical Engineering department, will now be developed for Indian Railways as they asked us to provide five prototypes,” Routray added.

The device holds significance as a series of train accidents in the recent past has resulted in deaths of hundreds of people and damaging properties worth crores of rupees.

Aurobindo Routray along with his two other members in his research team had been conducting research to develop the device since 2004-05.

Explaining in detail about the technologies, the IIT-Kharagpur scientist said the two devices are based on what is globally called PERCLOS or percentage of eyelid closure over the pupil over time, and reflects slow eyelid closures (“droops”) rather than blinks.

He said the PERCLOS drowsiness metric has been used since the mid-1990s to develop various tools to heck industrial fatigue.

Further explaining the acclaimed researcher said ‘Chemvist’ uses Electrooculography (EOG) signals to check the alertness of drivers, who will have to wear a headband while playing a video game. The headband detects the voltage difference between the cornea and retina of the driver’s eyes, and subsequently determines if the person will remain alert for the next few hours.

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