Wearable Tech: Paving The Way Towards Improved Road Safety

The Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends has defined wearables as one of the top trends to watch out for. However, wearables are now growing beyond the realm of fitness, with many now being developed to curb crippling road injury and death statistics. In the U.S., over 38,000 people die annually on the road, and some 4.4 million more are injured to a serious enough extent to require medical attention. If you love vehicle-related technology and you generate significant road mileage every year because of your job, watch out for the following ground-breaking technologies. They could save your life – or someone else’s.

Technology Against Drunk Driving

Scientists at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) are working on a new wearable technology that measures blood alcohol levels with just sweat. It looks like a tattoo, but it’s actually a biosensor patch fitted with components that measure the electric current that flows through sweat. It then sends the result to your smartphone so you can check it discreetly. This type of technology is no less than necessary at a time in which around one million drivers are arrested annually for DUIs. Victims can face serious consequences requiring weeks, months, or even years of rehabilitation. Some have access to a Crime Victim’s Compensation Program, which covers medical care and loss of earnings. While this is useful when the drunk driver has no insurance, it has limits and may not cover the full extent of the damage caused.

Wearable Tech To Test Health and Awareness

Ford has been working on wearable devices that elicit biometric data with a view to identifying signs of compromised health or awareness in drivers. Nismo, meanwhile, has designed a Concept Watch with a heart rate monitor that receives live biometrics. It can recognize when fatigue or a medical emergency is ensuing, thereby playing a role in avoiding fatigue-induced crashes. Audi is also championing better health on the road with a system called Audi Fit Driver, which incorporates smart watches and car sensors to monitor vital statistics like heart rate and skin temperature.

Technological Innovation Against Drowsy Driving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that drowsy driving causes around 72,000 crashes per year. Various companies are working to lower this number through wearable technology. Take SmartCap – an Australian company that has designed a cap that can measure tiredness. The cap relies on EEG (electroencephalography) tests, which are also used in sleep science. Maven Machines, meanwhile, has designed a headset that analyzes where the driver is looking and how often he or she looks into the mirror – reduced checking of the mirror indicates that the driver is getting drowsy. Other companies have designed glasses which measure blink rates and the amount of time that the eyelids remain closed. These technologies can all give drivers lifesaving warnings that it is time to pull to the side of the road.

Wearable technology companies are doing their best to counter the many risks to road safety – including DUIs, medical emergencies, and fatigue. From caps that measure tiredness to glasses that can tell when a driver is about to fall asleep, these devices are light yet ultra effective. Wearable ‘tattoos’ against DUI driving, meanwhile, can provide drivers with key information via their smartphone, therefore making the process of checking alcohol levels significantly more discreet