Across the globe, every single day there are road accidents occurring due to drowsy driving. Sleepiness is the major contributor causing fatal road accidents and is generally overlooked by the drivers. Similar to alcohol, drowsiness reduces reflex time, alertness and hampers our decision- making ability. To combat this problem a kickstarter program has come up with a device known as Vigo. The sole aim of the device is to wake you up whenever you are low on energy and show sign of drowsiness and low alertness. In short, Vigo gauges your alertness and can suggest you to take breaks when required.
The inception of the idea of creating one such incredible device goes to a team of engineering students from the University of Pennsylvania. They intended to fight fatigue and drowsiness during lectures or studying all night long for the exams. And found a solution to the problem in a technological way.
We often over estimate our self-thinking that we can remain alert at our will, however it is not the case. Weighing just 20 grams, Vigo is laced with an infrared sensor, an accelerometer and can form algorithms using ARM Cortex-M0 16MHz processor. The infrared sensors understand the blinking pattern of the person wearing it, to determine the level of alertness. It includes rate of blinking and time duration for which the eye remain open than closed, head motions and other parameters. These data is used to form smart algorithms to measure any changes and an accelerometer snaps any flash of drowsiness. In short, it easily notices your drowsiness even before you know. It comes with a rechargeable battery that may last for 2-3 days and a blue-tooth and so you don’t have to miss on your important calls and messages.
Now that the Vigo knows you are feeling drowsy, there are three options available for you to choose how the Vigo conveys the message to you so that you may regain your consciousness. You may either use your favorite song to nudges you or use red LED light to flash straight into your eyes from the tip of the device or vibrate your phone by sending a signal to the user phone. Vigo depending upon your alertness can suggest smart break options, whether is it best for you to take a coffee, go for a walk, and do some stretching exercises or to take a nap.
Vigo makes a graph using data collected and accordingly you can change your daily routine by understanding at what time of the day you are at your peak of activeness and at what time you tend to show sign of low energy. The information can be easily accessed using a app in your smart phones.
The prototype and the mobile app have been build in Shenzhen, China with the help of HAXLR8R, a hardware incubator who mentored them to convert their prototype into a final commercial product. They now require funds to manufacture their first slot of Vigo to be placed in market for the general people. The device will be useful not just for the person in the driving seats, it is equally useful for people working in night shifts and working in jobs requiring alertness as in mining, construction site, where slight mistakes can cause loss of lives. And may provide important information to the trucks companies like for how long generally a truck driver drives before felling drowsiness and should take break for their safety and others on the road.