Health & Science Newsletter

August 17, 2014

Bluetooth headset keeps you awake behind the wheel

We’ve all been there: a long day of work or school, and you feel yourself dozing off at your desk – or worse, while driving. Now, Jason Gui, co-founder of Vigo, a San Francisco-based company, has developed a device that senses when you’re too tired – and wakes you up.

We’ve all been there: a long day of work or school, and you feel yourself dozing off at your desk – or worse, while driving.

Now, Jason Gui, co-founder of Vigo, a San Francisco-based company, has developed a device that senses when you’re too tired – and wakes you up. Gui traces the idea for the device, which was funded by a Kickstarter campaign, to his days as a student at the University of Pennsylvania.

“What we quickly realized was that the problem wasn’t just limited to students,” Gui said. “A lot of drivers also experience drowsiness.”

The device, also named Vigo, is a Bluetooth headset that tracks a user’s blinking patterns and head movements in real time. It can be ordered at http://wearvigo.com for $79.

“There (are) two types of sensors in Vigo (that are) able to pick up your signs of drowsiness,” Gui said.

An infrared sensor near your eye detects if they stay closed longer than a quick blink, while an accelerometer measures head movement. If the headset notices you nodding off, it sends an alert to stay awake.

“It can nudge you through a combination of flashing lights, through a vibration in your ear, or through sound or audio alert,” Gui said.

A Vigo mobile app tracks patterns to determine when you’re most active or fatigued, and recommends ways to stay awake.

Gui sees Vigo as “a step in the direction of reducing fatigue-related incidents.”

Inside Science – www.insidescience.org – is an editorially independent news product of the American Institute of Physics.

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