Dallas teens invent alarm that could save young lives

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by GARY REAVES

WFAA

Posted on September 26, 2010 at 9:41 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 28 at 4:24 PM

DALLAS — Every time a child dies after being left in a car because an adult has a lapse in judgment, people wonder how to prevent such tragedies.

University of Texas at Dallas freshman Michael Sherman didn't just wonder. Working with two other Texas Instruments interns — Peggy Liska and Daniel Ogilvie —  they found a way to turn a $49 digital watch into a lifesaver.

"The watch is used with a device that communicates with a car seat to indicate if you accidentally left your baby in the car," Sherman explained.

Their invention, the Safe Baby Alert Broadcast Interface — or safeBABI — uses about $100 worth of commonly available parts. They've even posted a how-to video on the Internet.

"A switch beneath the seat transmits when the child is placed in the seat," the 18-year-old inventor explained.

The switch talks to a small, cheap transmitter. Walk away from the baby seat and the watch sounds its alarm.

Since TI doesn't make baby seats, it doesn't plan to market the product.

"Somebody needs to do it," Sherman said. "If not TI, it needs to be the car companies... it needs to be someone. This is a growing problem. It can't be put off."

Until then, parents who are handy with electronics can make their own safeBABI alarms. The parts, software and instructions are available for free online.

E-mail greaves@wfaa.com

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