Testing of the new sensor image
Graduate students Mostafa Alizadeh (left) and Hajar Abedi position a doll, modified to simulate breathing, in a minivan during testing of the new sensor.

A device, developed by grad students at the University of Waterloo, combines radar technology with artificial intelligence (AI) to detect unattended children or animals left in cars. Small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, the device sends out radar signals that are reflected back by people, animals, and objects in the vehicle. Built-in AI then analyzes the reflected signals.

The system prevents vehicle doors from locking and sounds an alarm to alert the driver, passengers, and other people in the area that there is a problem. It distinguishes between living beings and inanimate objects by detecting subtle breathing movements.