TN graduate students design 'smart' car seat - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

TN graduate students design 'smart' car seat

The Kidsense Car Seat talks to the driver. The Kidsense Car Seat talks to the driver.

(WMC-TV) - The constant warning in the heat: It can become hot inside vehicles, putting children in danger. Some Vanderbilt University engineering graduates hope to solve the problem by designing the "smart" car seat.

They call it the Kidsense Car Seat and it talks to the driver.

Fitting into the regular seat belt, it is powered, in part, by the car's cigarette lighter.

When the car starts with the child buckled in, blue lights show up on the car seat telling the driver the child is safe. But when the car is turned off, red lights flash and a key fob lights up. It vibrates and buzzes, indicating the child is still in the seat.

"So, the alarm level you are seeing right now we call danger state. The lights on the top of the car seat will flash. The car seat will also be buzzing again to attract the attention of a passersby if your child is going into heat shock in the car. We want anybody around to be getting them out as soon as possible," said biomedical engineering student Chelsea Stowell.

The only way to deactivate the alarm is either to turn the car on or unbuckle the clip.

An all-female design team of electrical, mechanical and bio-medical engineering majors developed Kidsense. It was displayed with 67 other inventions at Vanderbilt's Senior Design Day, which provides students with experience working on real-world projects.

"That is one of the real strengths of having a senior design program at a school ... There are some things in engineering that you can't learn until you have actually done it," said Stowell.

These designers hope their invention can save a child's life.

"It is really very exciting to think that this might actually turn into a product, and it can go out to help people," said Stowell.

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