A “horrifying mistake” is how Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten described the situation when parents, who in their own rush or brief spell of absent-mindedness, forget a baby or toddler strapped into a car’s backseat on a hot summer’s day.
The Baltimore Sun reports that more than 500 children died of heat stroke between 1998 and 2011 from being left in cars. But three Johns Hopkins University students have designed a device that will be able to detect a child’s or pet’s breathing in the backseat, and did it by modifying slightly an Xbox Kinect.
According to the Sun, the three senior engineering students:
focused on a need for a passive device that would work but didn’t depend on parental activation. The students got an $8,000 budget they used, in part, to buy the Xbox Kinect devices and take them apart. … Kinect’s infrared sensor, it turned out, appeared highly sensitive to motion and was unaffected by high heat, the students found.