Muscat: Six female Omani students have created potentially life-saving wearable technology that prevents sleepy drivers from dozing off.
Called Snooze or Al Ghafwah, the device can be attached to any pair of glasses.
“Al Ghafwah is a small light device that can be attached to any type of glasses. It contains a specific sensor that monitors the eye and eyelash movement so once someone feels sleepy the device will alarm them with a sound,” Samia Al Muqbaily, 23, executive director at the Insan company, said.
“The aim of the device is to try and tackle the problem Oman faces with road accidents. When looking at the causes behind accidents, exhaustion was the one that really resonated with us. Because there is a large number of people that are exhausted and we tried to solve that problem with this device.”
Insan is a student-run organisation functioning under the Middle East College. It was created by six Omani girls. Insan has participated in a competition by Injaz, organisations that help support small businesses and also provides them with workshops.
Eight people are involved in the production of the device, with each person in charge of their specialty.
“The sensor sends a wave signal to the eye and if there is no reply, then it rings. The alarm is a loud extended ringtone, but we are planning on developing it so that people can pick their own ringtones.”
The protocol was displayed for the first time on June 12 at Barr Al Jissah. Al Muqbaily described how they got the idea. “Someone in the company was looking at his mother’s screen and saw that it suddenly went blank, and that is how the idea for the device came to us.”
“Anything that helps people focus more on the road is welcomed,” said Ali Al Barwani, head of the Oman Road Safety Association, adding that “because sleepiness specifically (increases) during Ramadan and for people, who drive from Muscat to the Wilayat, it is a big problem.”
There has been a rise in the number in the people, who die during Ramadan as a result of exhaustion. “During Ramadan, the driver is exhausted as he stays up late, which directly affects his driving ability. The body works involuntarily when exhausted, which in turn forces the eyes to shut for a few seconds. Those few seconds can force the vehicle off its path and cause an accident,” the Royal Oman Police said.
“We have expanded the scope of Al Ghafwa so that it is not confined to driving, it can be used by students when they study or even by nurses.”
Insan will hold an exhibition on June 16 and 17 at the Avenues Mall to display Al Ghafwah.