Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Talking safety

Published:Sunday | January 25, 2015 | 1:00 AMErica Virtue
Contributed The SenseHud system being used by a driver.
Contributed Dr Kingsley Chin with the SenseHud on display.
Contributed Interested persons take a closer look at the SenseHud on display.
File A motorist using a cell phone while behind the wheel, a dangerous practice which Sensehud eliminates.
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Jamaica-born medical doctor Kingsley Chin is a renowned orthopaedic surgeon based in the United States, especially known for his expertise with non-invasive surgical procedures to correct spinal injuries.

The Portland-raised Chin earned his MD from Harvard Medical School. However, it is his Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Columbia University that he has been utilising to develop and promote modern technologies for safer driving on the busy roads of the United States, and soon, Jamaica.

Chin found out accidentally that one of his employees, graphics designer Mike Amuru, was well advanced in producing a device that would reduce road crashes in the United States. This was after Amuru suffered injuries in a crash when the other motorist was paying more attention to the phone than the road.

eureka moment

Amuru, who designed store window displays, stumbled on a device which projected images on walls through a process, and with results he found interesting. Very much the entrepreneur, he took it to his then boss, who wasn't impressed. Still, Amuru did not shelve the idea, and when he responded to an advertisement for a graphics designer at Chin's private equity company, KICVentures, which builds companies investing in ideas, the seeds of an idea long sown would germinate.

It would grow to become the SenseHud (heads-up device), one of the more popular devices with drivers in the US who are inseparable from their cell phones. Chin and Amuru's eureka moment came when, after completing the device, it actually worked, and now some car dealers in the US are pre-installing SenseHud in the vehicles they sell.

"We shopped around with some ideas (for names) before we settled on Sense, for sensible, and Hud is heads-up device. So we have SenseHud. And it has everything to do with finding a device that would allow you to project what's on your phone screen when driving, something that is voice-activated, which would keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel," Chin told Automotives in an interview from Florida last week.

Describing the device to Automotives, Chin said: "It's mirror angled about 45 degrees, and if you can put your phone there, you see the reflection in the mirror. It's completely voice-activated. You take the SenseHud, which is the device, you put your phone in there with your screen up, then you put the mirror angled above your phone so you are looking at the mirror, which is showing what's on your phone," said a pleased Chin, as he extolled the virtues of the merger of his partnership with Amuru and his education in medicine, mathematics and engineering.

According to Chin, "All these states (in the US) are banning texting and driving because there is so much carnage on the roads. It's a big problem. The heads-up display is seen as the way to solve that."

SenseHud has already found favour with at least one Jamaican legislator, Member of Parliament Fitz Jackson. Its timely emergence saw SenseHud being part of parliamentary discussions last year on amendments to the Road Traffic Act.

"There was awareness of the device during deliberations on the amendments to the Road Traffic Act. We feel that the technology will allow for greater concentration on the roads," Jackson told Automotives.

road fatalities

Last year, more than 300 persons lost their lives on Jamaica's roads. In 2013, road fatalities increased by 13 per cent over 2102. Injuries from road accidents account for a significant percentage of hospitalisation, physiotherapy and orthopaedic cases in local hospitals.

Chin believes SenseHud will also find its way in operating theatres.

"I saw this device in the operating room. Surgeons can take the device, put their phones in there and keep connected rather than be out of commission for five, six hours during surgeries," he said.

Dr Kingsley Chin is entrepreneur, investor, surgeon and inventor who has built multiple symbiotic companies in the health-tech sector. KICVentures was founded in 2005 and quickly, Chin sold his first portfolio company, MANTIS Inc to Stryker. Under his leadership, KICVentures' companies are profitable and have generated over US$100 million.

Chin has worked for Accenture Management Consulting (formerly Arthur Andersen), where he gained experience in management consulting. He also spent time at Cigna Insurance and on Wall Street at Goldman Sachs, developing information technology solutions. He credits those formative experiences with inspiring his passion for business and health technology.