Role: Co-Founder, Data Scientist, Former CTO
At Guard-Ex, we are developing a universal impairment detection device. This device will allow police officers to accurately detect impairment in the given moment regardless of what substance the suspect is impaired from. With the use of Computer Vision and Machine Learning, the Guard will minimize any bias that may be accounted for when a police officer makes an impairment decision.
Universal impairment screening device: The GX-420 will analyze the patterns of an individual's physiological signs to accurately screen impairment in the given moment. The GX-420 will be able to screen impairment from mono and polydrug use, quite importantly; Cannabis, Cocaines & Opiates.
My Journey at Guard-Ex: I started working with Guard-Ex as a freelancer in October 2017. At that time the team was in the ideation phase and looking for someone to make the prototype for proof of concept. I liked the idea and the fact that the team shared the same vision as I do. I lost a friend of mine in a car accident because the driver was on drugs, so I always wanted to do something about this and Guard-Ex was on the path of solving this problem. The idea was the automate the things done by the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) officer to check whether a person is impaired or not. The main part of the test performed by the DRE officers was related to analyzing the eye for Nystagmus, pupil dilation, smooth pursuit, convergence, etc. So I started working on Computer Vision to track pupils and compute its features to perform all these tests. The task was not only to make the algorithms but also to make the device. I used Raspberry Pi 3 with Pi infrared camera for this purpose. Since we wanted to make our initial prototype quickly so instead of 3D printing the device I used a VR headset from the market and removed its lens and other parts to fit all of the components inside it (1st Prototype). Once the prototype was completed on 20th Dec 2017, I shipped it to Canada (Company is based in Canada and I was working from India). On 24th Dec 2017 Company offered me the Role of CTO and equity in the company. After shipping the device, I used to work on the software part of it by connecting it remotely.
The second prototype took me 4 months of development for me. The main purpose of the prototype was to pitch it in Dragon's Den for the initial funding. There were some big improvements in this version as compared to the previous one. This one was the only prototype with a 7-inch touch screen attached to it. Now there were 2 IR cameras and controlled IR lights for capturing the eye movements. We also added the heart rate sensor in this prototype. I also designed and made the printed circuit board (PCB) place every electronic component properly. The algorithm to perform the tests, analyze it and give results was also improved in this version. One 20th April we submitted our first patent application for the device (SYSTEMS, METHODS AND DEVICES FOR USE IN REAL-TIME ROADSIDE IMPAIRMENT DETECTION. Serial No. 62/746,882). On 27th April 2018, we won our pitch at Dragon's Den and got funded.
After Dragon's Den event we speeded up the development process and started working on our 3rd prototype. We hired 2 more Engineers to work on the Software and Hardware side of the device. We started gathering the product requirement from our potential customers so that we can fine-tune the device. We removed the screen, 3D printed the device and ordered PCB. This version included the temperature sensor as well to monitor the person's body temperature during the test.
In Dec 2018 we outsourced our development to a company named Snappea in Waterloo Canada. With Snappea we developed GX-420 which was capable of performing every test done on the eye for impairment detection. The design was also very different from its previous version as it can stand on a tripod so that the DRE officer doesn't have to hold it during testing any person. Meanwhile, I started working with Dr. Jeffery A. Jones on analyzing the data gathered the devices by performing different tests to get better insights.
Currently, we are working on our pilot program with Waterloo Regional Police, North Bay Police, Challengers, etc.