Impecca Alert Band, photo courtesy Impecca

Impecca Alert Band, photo courtesy Impecca

There is a new product that aims to prevent accidents by warning drivers when they’re getting drowsy. As Stu Robarts writes for Gizmag, it’s called the Impecca Alert Band, which Impecca calls an “anti-fatigue brainwave detector.”

The forehead sensor detects when a driver is sleepy from three to five minutes before he or she is about to fall asleep at the wheel, Impecca writes, and is more than 90% accurate. That gives drivers wearing the band (an electroencephalography headset) more time to stop and take a break, Robarts writes.

The Alert Band has sensors that sit next to a wearer’s forehead and connect to a mobile app (for both Android and iOS) via Bluetooth, Robarts writes. It can operate for 20 hours on one battery charge, Impecca writes. The company expects to have it on the market in May, and it will sell for $249.99, Robarts writes.

Robarts writes about some of the technical details:

The data collected by the headband is translated into a scale of 0-100 on the app, with 0 meaning that the driver is fully awake and anything above 80 meaning that the level of fatigue is considered dangerous for driving and that a break should be taken. The device can also provide real-time notifications and alarms to a driver’s smartphone, family and friends and social networks when monitored fatigue reaches a certain level.

There are several other devices or systems designed to prevent drowsy driving, Robarts writes. One of them, Robarts writes, is EyeAlert Driver Fatigue Monitor, which sounds an alarm when its DD850 infrared camera/sensors detect that a driver’s eyes are closing at an unsafe rate, as Mike Hanlon wrote for Gizmag back in 2005. In addition, Audi has looked into putting heart-rate monitors into seats, Robarts writes. The researcher have proposed creating a textile that would feature the sensors, rather than attaching them to existing car seats, as Dave Eclair reported for Gizmag last year. This blog has also written about sensors built into vehicle seats, via smart materials and smart seat belts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 2.5% of fatal car accidents, and 2% of injury crashes involve drowsy driving, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which writes: “These estimates are probably conservative, though, and up to 5,000 or 6,000 fatal crashes each year may be caused by drowsy drivers.” To prevent driving when you are tired, the CDC recommends getting enough sleep, getting treatment if you have a sleep disorder, and not drinking or taking medications that cause tiredness if you plan to drive.

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