New Device “Reads” Drunk Driver’s Pupils
An intelligent teenager from Wichita Falls, Texas has invented a device that can “read” a drunk driver by detecting how dilated the person’s pupils are.
Krishna Reddy, 13, is one of 10 children who have qualified as finalists in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. The competition is held each year and has a purse of $25,000. The finals will be held Monday and Tuesday of this week.
Breathalyzers are typically relied on to determine whether or not people are intoxicated. The breath sample can tell authorities if someone has had something to drink, but not if they have other drugs in their system. Reddy wanted to develop a better test.
When we drink or take drugs, our pupils react in different ways. Alcohol and opioids cause a person’s pupils to constrict, or get smaller. Other drugs, like cocaine, LSD and mushrooms, cause the pupils to dilate, or get bigger. To take advantage of the body’s natural tell, Reddy created a device made of a toilet paper roll, a digital camera, and a snakehead flashlight.
Here’s how the teen’s device works: A person looks straight ahead and the flashlight is held up to the eye. The toilet paper roll directs light to the pupil, and the camera records the pupil’s response. The video is fed into a software program, also created by Reddy, and the constriction of the pupil’s is measured.
Reddy’s device can show whether someone has been drinking, taken certain pain killers, smoked marijuana, or ingested amphetamines. It is hoped that the device will help reduce the number of fatalities on the road if it is widely developed and put into use.
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