posted Sep 07, 2001

Fuel cell system could help nab drunk drivers
Human Justice
'Developed by engineering students working under Kolesar, the technique is totally unobtrusive and does not require drivers to blow into a tube or respond to visual prompts. Instead, it uses a tiny ethyl alcohol fuel cell sensor manufactured by PAS Systems International (Fredericksburg, Va.) to monitor air in the vehicle cabin for the presence of ethanol vapor concentrations.

'Working with a sampling pump that draws in cabin air, the fuel cell chemically converts ethanol vapors to acetic acid, then produces an electrical voltage output signal proportional to the gas concentration. An op-amp circuit amplifies the raw output signal and a comparator circuit evaluates the data and "decides" whether the driver's blood alcohol level is too high.'

I gave in and made a new Human Justice category. This story isn't directly internet related, but it's the next logical step for this sort of system: Notification via wireless Internet connections.



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