Yellow Jackets. Black Beauties. Mini-Thins. These were all names of various ephedrine and caffeine-based trucker speed that was legally bought in pill form at truck stop cash registers everywhere. Fatigue is a constant struggle and often causes drivers to seek more chemically enhanced options for staying awake, to say nothing of those who just try and drive through the drowsiness. But then the government started restricting ephedrine since it's a common ingredient used for cooking methamphetamine.
And Australian company, EdanSafe, thinks they have a better option for long-haul truckers, who typically log 4,000 miles a week, while driving 10 hours a day. They've developed SmartCap, a hat that measures a worker's fatigue in real time by monitoring brain waves.
The washable cap is equipped with waterproof sensors that use custom algorithms to determine a person's level of alertness. The data in transmitted via Bluetooth to a display monitor — either a smartphone or a SmartCap touchscreen monitor — where the user can keep an eye on their fatigue level. If that level dips to dangerous levels, audible and visual alarms are activated.
Developers are hoping the system can be used by supervisors to monitor employee fatigue levels so that no unnessary risks are taken. The system's SmartCap Fatigue Manager Server allows for the monitoring of multiple caps in real time and the option to review an emplyee's past shift to survey what levels of fatigue they experienced.
The SmartCap is still being tested but should be available sometime this year. Also in production are headband and hard hat versions.