More than 10 million Americans say they nod off behind the wheel every month. If you’re one of them, there’s a new piece of tech that might help you keep your eyes open and on the road. The Impecca Alert Band, which retails for $ 250, goes on sale this month. Its purpose is to let drivers know that they have begun to drift off. Each year, sleepy drivers cause more than 100,000 accidents and claim as many as 6,000 lives.
The Alert Band uses electroencephalography (EEG) to monitor your brain waves. The plastic band rests on your forehead, and its sensors pick up signals that are then sent to your smartphone (iOS and Android) via Bluetooth 4.0.
When your brain signals show that you’re within minutes of falling asleep, the accompanying app sounds a loud alarm. That’s your hint to pull over and get some rest. It’s important to remember that the device does not zap your brain to keep you awake. It bases its alerts on a scale of 0-100. Zero’s wide awake, 100’s asleep, and 80 or above is considered dangerous for driving.
You can also program the app to alert friends, family and others in your social network to call you to help keep you awake or coax you into getting off the road. (Remember, though, that talking on the phone while driving is dangerous.)
“A forehead-worn band might be a tough sell for most,” writes Chance Kinney at ChipChick. “For the people who frequently run the risk of fatigued driving, though, the Alert Band could be a lifesaver.” That means truck drivers, cabbies, and others who drive long and/or odd hours.
No reviews of the device have posted yet, so it’s still unclear whether this device fully lives up to its promise, but the idea seems like a good one. For drivers who think they can power through periods of fatigue – and I’ve done my share of that over the years – the Alert Band may be the nudge they need to park and rest. While it’s a pretty pricey nudge, the costs of drowsy driving can be much higher.