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Digitizing Music Classics and Eye Tracking for Sleepy Drivers

People, Trends and Ideas

Haul of Music Classics

The Library of Congress will be working for at least a decade digitizing and cataloging the largest single donation to its audio-visual division — more than 200,000 historic master recordings from the Universal Music Group. Among the vintage gems: the Mills Brothers' "Paper Doll," Louis Armstrong singing "Ain't Misbehavin' " and Bing Crosby's 1947 version of "White Christmas." "This collection is unique for reasons beyond sheer volume," says Gene DeAnna, head of the Recorded Sound Section, which already contains 3 million tracks. "These are studio masters, meaning they are sonically the best existing copies." The library plans to start streaming the selections online this spring.

Tracking Fatigue

An electronic system that tracks eye movements may help sleepy drivers by sounding an alarm before they nod off. The Eyetracker, developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology in Germany, uses up to a half-dozen tiny cameras to watch for a closed eyelid. Developers say it will be available this summer. Some experts are skeptical and suggest getting proper sleep is still key. "Studies show 1.9 million drivers have fatigue-related car crashes or near-misses each year," says John B. Townsend II, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "While the technology is promising, it can only do so much."

Mike Tucker is a writer from Virginia.