A recent article out of Vancouver, Canada has some interesting anti-DWI new technology that could improve police efforts to curb drunk driving.
Ehsan Daneshi, a Simon Fraser University computational neuroscience doctoral candidate and researcher has helped develop a new device touted as perhaps one day being the benchmark technology for officers administering roadside sobriety tests for drugs and alcohol. The portable DUI Scanner is a wireless headset that uses cameras to record a driver’s eye movement and to keep track of pupillary changes and erratic pupil motions when administered a series of light patterns projected on to a screen. Secure software designed to maintain the integrity and security of the data collected comes with the device.
Simon Fraser University’s Invention to Innovation Program
Daneshi works for the Canadian-based Ophthalight Digital Solutions, Inc., that develops various devices to test eyes for cancer, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. Along with Amir Hossein Veidani, Opthalight’s co-founder and chief medical officer, Daneshi adapted their device to enable it to conduct several eye tests for alcohol and drug impairment toward the goal of assisting law enforcement in measuring the actual functional eye impairment in potential DWI drivers. Eye function is critical for safe driving. In fact, Dr. Veidani believes that the portability and objectivity of the new device will be extremely valuable to police officers and district attorneys and, he adds, “Eyes don’t lie. Never.”
SFU’s new graduate level science and technology program—known as Invention to Innovation—is designed to assist highly qualified scientists and engineers looking for opportunities beyond just academia. The program provides these gifted individuals the skills to be successful in developing new products, as well as to adapt existing inventions from academic application to businesses or government agencies. Through this program, Daneshi was able to network with potential business mentors and make other industry connections.
Based in Vancouver, Opthalight’s mission is to make basic eye care more accessible so more people can protect and ultimately keep their vision. Founded in March 2014, Opthalight has amassed an exceptional, well-qualified team of professionals with the same goals.
The company is constantly working to develop advanced mobile technology to improve eye exams, increase accuracy, and to ensure everyone has access to quality eye care. The company strives to always keep modernizing the field.
Most traditional roadside sobriety tests such as standing on one leg, walking and turning, touching one’s nose with one’s finger, and horizontal gaze nystagmus are fundamentally subjective and oftentimes subject to inaccurate results and/or having cases dismissed in court. The new device enables officers to perform eight different, objective, and standardized eye tests in less than two minutes and is able to store test data such as photos, videos, and charts for later retrieval by law enforcement analysis and to use in court, if necessary.
However, the device, and its results, is not a panacea because corroborating evidence from some bodily fluid test—blood, urine, or saliva—is necessary in order to determine the type and amount of any drugs which may be present in the driver’s system.
The new device is currently protected under three provisional patents; however, the developers are being hush-hush with any more details in order to protect their intellectual property rights. Thus, at this time, there is no further information about what the driver will actually see while wearing the device.
The current cost of the device for strictly medical application is around $4,500; however, Daneshi has discussed the possibility of a reduced price for law enforcement agencies for both the module and software subscription fee. Daneshi reports that the device is undergoing additional development and clinical trials and expects it to hit the market sometime in 2018.