The Spark of Innovation Series: Learn How Booz Allen Interns are Combatting Drowsy Driving

Jun 28, 2017 6:30 PM ET

In the third installment of the six-part video series, “The Spark of Innovation,” Michael Jacob and André Nguyen discuss how, as interns at Booz Allen Hamilton, they conceived the concept of Beat Awake, an algorithm to help prevent drivers from falling asleep at the wheel.

It’s happened to all of us: you’re driving, you’re tired, and you feel your eyelids begin to get heavy.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving is the cause of around 83,000 crashes each year. Michael and André were inspired to fix this problem as interns at last year’s Booz Allen Summer Games.

“It was one of those things where I had the idea in the back of my head, and then it just hit me: I really want to prevent falling asleep—but I’m not sure how yet. And then I met André,” Michael said. “When you’re a Summer Games intern, ten percent of every workweek, throughout the summer, is spent working on whatever idea you want to explore. And that’s how Beat Awake was born.”

André and Michael, now Booz Allen employees, worked together to develop an algorithm to prevent drowsy driving. Beat Awake pairs up to smartwatches, using biometric data to determine anomalies in heartrate that might indicate a driver is falling asleep. The driver is alert when this occurs. This technology has the potential to save thousands of lives each year.

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