Tech Transfer eNews Blog

U of Alabama professors create device to prevent hot-car deaths among children and pets

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 17th, 2018

Two professors at the University of Alabama (UA) have developed a monitor to help prevent injuries and deaths among children and pets who are accidentally left in hot cars.

Tim Haskew, head of the department of electrical and computer engineering at UA, says he came up with the idea after a news report about an infant’s death.

“I felt like there was a way to eliminate it,” says Haskew. “The idea is that if there is someone or anything that breathes that is left in the car unattended, the driver or the owner of the vehicle would get a notification when the sensor picks up that somebody is in there.”

While developing his idea, Haskew consulted with electrical and computer engineering professor Edward Sazonov, who helped create an algorithm for the prototype. A team of senior engineering students at UA built the prototype based on the professors’ concept.

The device plugs into a vehicle’s cigarette lighter port. Once it detects that the car is not running, it monitors carbon dioxide levels and the cabin temperature. As the vehicle gets hotter, the threshold is lowered for CO2 levels that would set off the alarm. A battery pack supplies power to the device when the vehicle is turned off, and the monitor includes a cellular connection to communicate with the driver’s mobile phone.

“Frankly, it is a simple technology and, from my perspective, it can virtually eliminate the deaths of children left in hot cars,” says Haskew.

The UA Office of Technology Transfer is awaiting final approval of patents for the device, having recently received notice of preliminary approval. The office is currently exploring possibilities to bring the technology to market.  

Source: Tuscaloosa News

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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