Machine Design

Driven to distraction

Research at Central Michigan University could make roads safer by helping car companies develop dashboard controls that need less attention to operate.

CMU Professor Richard Backs monitors responses of a simulator driver.

Monitoring a driver's brain-wave patterns and heart activity helps researchers figure out ways to lessen distractions from navigation systems, for example. Part of the work involves developing an attention test to assess functions such as visual scanning, flexibility of attention, and sustained attention. A desktop driver simulator from GM is being used for the work.

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