Loading articles...

Locally designed DUI test first able to detect alcohol and drugs

(Steve Zhang, NEWS1130 Photo)

BURNABY (NEWS1130) – A PhD student at Simon Fraser University helped design a new device to catch drivers driving under the influence.

Ehsan Daneshi is the Vice President of Business Development for Ophthalight Digital Solutions, which designed the “O-Glass,” originally an automated medical eye examiner, made to detect illnesses such as cancer.

Daneshi says they found another use for the O-Glass.

“Less than one percent of DUI cases are arrested. It signifies the need for better and more accurate DUI screenings,” Daneshi says.

The device, Daneshi says, is worn on the head and shines different patterns and spectrums of light into the wearer’s eyes to track a specific “jerky” eye movement which indicates a person is drunk or high. The tests performed are then tracked on a computer using accompanying software.

He adds police departments have expressed interest in using this test on the roads.(Ehsan Daneshi, right)

“We can help police officers to do somewhat similar eye exams which they do everyday, but the tests are quite subjective,” Daneshi says, “The quality of the test [results] can be affected by environmental conditions, such as the lighting on highways.”

Ophthalight says the device will allow tests to be stored as admissible evidence should a case go to court, and is far more accurate than existing sobriety tests which often also rely on the experience of the administering officer.

Nearly 1,500 people are killed in impaired driving crashes each year.

Daneshi says Ophthalight hopes to keep the cost of the O-Glass and its accompanying software under $5,000 for law enforcement.

The O-Glass is still going through clinical trials, but Daneshi says the goal is to have it in service by 2018.