Forget guzzling down energy drinks and coffee to stay awake while driving, a new bracelet has been designed to nudge you awake at the wheel. And by nudge we mean zap you with an electric shock.
Steer is a wearable that doesn’t noticeably do much until you start getting sleepy. But the device is packed with 16 sensors that constantly measure the wearer’s heart rate and skin conductance — according to the product’s Kickstarter page.
It compares these stats to your normal rates, and if it senses your heart rate decreasing it sends you a warning with a strong vibration and flash of yellow light. Think of it like a quick slap reminding you to wake up.
If your heart rate keeps dropping despite the warning, the device will think you are about to fall asleep and will try and jolt you awake with an electric shock. It works in a similar way to the “shock clock” designed to get you up in the morning.
After you’re shocked, the designers say, your serotonin, cortisol and other hormones will fluctuate and make you feel more awake — and your heart rate will return to normal.
This is when you should probably hand over the wheel, pull over, or find somewhere to actually get some sleep. But if this works like it says it will, it should buy you some time to get off the road safely.
The Kickstarter, based out of Riga, Latvia, launched this week to get the wearable on the road. The tech company says the device will be about $100 and it should be available starting in November.
It’s already reached its fundraising goal, but the trick will be getting people to wear the device after they buckle up. Steer creator Vlad Ilyin seems to think the wearable will “kill drowsiness” and make driving safer. “[Steer] can save thousands of lives on the road and reduce accidents related to drivers’ drowsiness,” he said in an email.
The possibly of a jolt to the system seems like reason enough make sure you get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel.