Researchers develop smart headphones to warn pedestrians of dangers
Using headphones is quite normal these days, especially for youngsters. They put on headphones not only at home, but also while walking on streets or riding their bicycles.
There have been several studies to prove that using headphones is one of the major causes of road accidents. These incidents seem to be on rise ever since there has been an increase in the use of noise-cancelling headphones, which cuts off all the background noise. A marquee feature of most of the headphones, noise-canceling hinders the road safety tips.
Finally, there seems to be a solution to the 'headphone problem'. Researchers have now developed a new kind of headphones, which help in warning pedestrians of the dangers on road.
A study titled 'Improving Pedestrian Safety in Cities Using Intelligent Wearable Systems' was published in IEEE Internet of Things Journal in December 2019. The researchers at the Data Science Institute, Columbia, designed an intelligent headphone system. This headphone warns the pedestrians of imminent dangers, like an approaching vehicle
These headphones are said to have miniature microphones and work through intelligent signal processing system, which sends an audio alert to the pedestrian's headphones. The research team is developing prototypes and is still testing the headphones.
"We are exploring a new area in developing an inexpensive and low-power technology that creates an audio-alert mechanism for pedestrians," mentioned Fred Jiang, a Data Science Institute member and an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Columbia Engineering.
The pipeline of the headphones includes an ultra-low power, custom-integrated circuit, which uses minimum battery. Additionally, the researchers are using the most advanced data science techniques to design the headset.
"We hope that once refined," Jiang said, "the technology will be commercialized and mass produced in a way that will help cities reduce pedestrian fatalities."
The researchers are looking forward to test the headsets successfully and make it available for the pedestrians by 2021.