Facebook PixelAn Earpiece that uses a Proximity Sensor to Protect you from getting hit by Cars
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An Earpiece that uses a Proximity Sensor to Protect you from getting hit by Cars

Image credit: https://unsplash.com/@felipepelaquim

Samuel Bello
Samuel Bello Jul 28, 2021
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If you like to listen to music from your earpiece while jogging or cycling, it is easy to get so engrossed in what you are doing that you do not pay much attention to your surroundings. A lot of pedestrians have died or sustained serious injuries because they were putting on headsets and could not notice that automobiles were approaching them. We propose the use of headsets that are equipped with proximity sensors to solve this problem. The user is notified by a vibrating earpiece whenever an object comes close to him. The notification is more aggressive if the object approaching the user is moving fast.
Earpieces with ambient mode (a mode where the sounds in your environment are relayed to your ears and played along with your music) can be used to reduce the user's risk but they are not very effective since the music easily distracts you from the relayed sound. This type of earpiece will not keep the user from colliding with cyclists or other people.
The proximity sensor can also improve one's safety when one is walking alone at night. It can notify you when someone is sneaking up on you.
Creative contributions

Different beeps for different recognizable events

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Jul 29, 2021
Depending on the user preferences, the headset could be set to make barely noticeable beeps based on
  • whether a person comes up behind you
  • a cyclist
  • a dog/cat
  • rain approaching
  • reported riots or crime in the area you are walking towards
  • any information that can be fed into the headset company's servers and is relevant to you based on your GPS
The user could configure the beeps and events they want to be notified about. The beep would be heard from the direction the event is coming from.
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The headset connected to your personal AI assistant (Alexa, Siri, or similar)

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Jul 29, 2021
The headset could listen to a keyword from you. Upon speaking it the music would pause and you could ask questions, relay instructions, notes, etc.
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Ways to notify the person

Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Jul 29, 2021
The headset may vibrate to notify the user of an incoming vehicle.

They can stop playing so that the user is brought back to reality.

I have some questions:
I wonder how these proximity sensors may function? What cues will they use as inputs? What about other pedestrians and joggers? Will they initiate a signal, too? How do we filter these harmless signals?
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Samuel Bello
Samuel Bello3 years ago

If there are other pedestrians around the person then the signals from the proximity sensor will be harder to detect. This can be overlooked some of the time because the place will have to be quite safe for pedestrians to be clustered around you. If they are not all behind you looking at the people in front of you will you a hint if something is about to go wrong.

The use of doppler effect as a means of measuring the velocity of moving can be used to detect objects that are moving fast (Doppler effect is the perceived change in frequency of a wave when there is relative motion between the source of the wave and the observer. In this case we use the sounds coming from these bodies to to judge how fast they are). An algorithm can analyze the sound of its environments to detect objects that are moving fast even when there is a lot of noise in the background. If a lot of fast objects are in the vicinity, the music can be stopped momentarily to keep the user alert just like you suggested. They can even be set so that it is impossible to play loud music in such environments.
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General comments

jnikola3 years ago
I like the idea but there are so many obstacles. The first one, which @Shubhankar mentioned, is the pedestrians, which would trigger the alert all the time if you are listening to music in crowded cities. But same as the earplugs detect and silence the background sounds and not your voice, this could maybe be done with the proximity sensors, too.

Another option would be to implement the "city mode" that would limit the volume to the level where all the environmental sounds are distinguishable by the person. That way, the music would never be too loud so that you miss the approaching car. There is one big flaw with this approach and it's coming fast - the electric car. :D
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Samuel Bello
Samuel Bello3 years ago
Juran I replied to Subhancar by explaining how the doppler effect works. This approach measures the speed of the objects that are around the user so other pedestrians and cars that are not moving fast are overlooked.

A "city mode" can be recommended for the users but lowering your music volume when you get to a noisier place almost defeats the point of owning an earpiece at all. Users might as well turn off the music. An implementation that comes close to this is an earpiece that can be used in ambient mode. It records the noises in the environment and relays them to your ears along with your music. This is safer than the traditional earpieces but not as safe as one that measures speeds and alerts the user when a fast object is nearby.

The electric car will not be a flaw in this case because its sounds will still be distinguishable to the earpiece's sensor. Anything that moves fast will make some noise because it is constantly working against the road's friction and air resistance. The loudness of the sounds that the earpiece measures do not have to be in the audible range either.
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