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Using Smartphone Cameras to Track Alertness


The tool tracks alertness every time a user opens their smartphone.

A new tool developed in Cornell Universitys People-Aware Computing Laboratory measures the alertness of the user.

Credit: Studio Firma/Stocksy

Researchers in Cornell University’s People-Aware Computing Laboratory have developed a tool that tracks alertness by measuring pupil size, captured through a burst of photos taken whenever a user unlocks their smartphone.

The researchers relied on two separate studies to develop the AlertnessScanner.

The first study analyzed results from users prompted to take photos of themselves every three hours with smartphones that lacked infrared filters, easing detection of the contours of the pupil and the iris.

In the second study, eight participants were given smartphones with high-resolution front-facing cameras that took 30 photos in one second whenever the handsets were unlocked; both studies validated pupil scanning as a reliable means of predicting alertness.

Said Cornell’s Vincent W.S. Tseng, “If you want to get something very important done, then probably you should execute this task while you’re at the peak of your alertness; when you’re in a valley of your alertness, you can do something like rote work.”

From Cornell Chronicle (NY)
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