Australian designers win international accolades

Friday, 03 August, 2007

Melbourne-based industrial design firm Outerspace Design has received international recognition, winning a bronze International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) 2007.

The winning product is the Optalert drowsiness detection eyewear, a pair of smart glasses that monitor a driver's eye movements and warn of signs of drowsiness, preventing the driver from falling asleep at the wheel.

"Optalert is not a cosmetic artefact. It's a serious innovation developed and designed in Australia, with the ability to save the lives of drivers everywhere," said Fred Blochlinger, design and marketing director of Outerspace Design.

The eyewear contains a tiny array of sensors attached to the nose bridge and a complex circuit board in the arm that continually processes the data for signs of drowsiness, such as a slow blink rate.

The prescription-compatible glasses are connected to a device that further analyses and records responses over a period of time.

The technology was developed in Australia by sleep expert Murray Johns and Sleep Diagnostics over a ten-year period, and tested and approved in the lab by the Monash University Accident Research Centre.

The product was prototyped and trialled by Australian trucking companies Linfox and Toll, who were quick to recognise value of the device.

The winners of the IDEA awards will be honoured at a formal ceremony in San Francisco, California, on Saturday, 20 October " the final day of the 2007 World Design Congress.

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