Massachusetts’s inventors have created a Kickstarter campaign to fund the development and creation of ‘Spark Watches’. The watches are designed to vibrate, at an intensity set by the wearer, if they begin to fall asleep. The premise of the watches are to prevent people falling asleep (or micro-sleeping) whilst driving, but will also prevent those cheeky naps during work meetings or students sleeping during their university lectures. There are already have watches for pretty much everything else; monitoring fitness and communications, so this invention comes as no surprise.
It is estimated that one in five accidents on motorways are caused by people falling asleep at the wheel because of the long, monotonous and sometimes boring surroundings. Road safety charity Brake conducted a survey of 1,000 drivers where 45% of men admitted to micro-sleeping while driving, as did 22% of women. A micro-sleep usually only lasts between five and ten seconds and usually a persons head jolting is the only way to know it has happened. Could the Spark Watch put an end to these micro-sleeps?
The watch uses two motion sensors to keep track of the wearers movement patterns during the day to ensure it knows their body during conscious state. When Spark detects they aren’t fully awake the vibration monitor will jolt the wearer continuously until they are fully awake. Fortunately a ‘Time Mode’ can be set to deactivate the sensors when sleep is planned.
The gadget runs on a lithium-ion battery which can last between five and seven days on a single charge with a micro USB port for charging when needed.
Spark has been developed by a company called Blanc and founded by student Eddy Zhong says he “dreams, breathes and lives by the concept of innovation”. Originally the campaign had a goal of $6,000 but it has massively surpassed that, currently standing at $21,000. The money will be used to manufacture and ship the first batch of watches which are looking at a shipment date in November. The watches are available to order now for $49 (£29).
A spokesman for Accident Advice Helpline, a leading law firm in the UK said “the statistics for the amount of people who micro-sleep when driving is shocking. There are many ways to prevent tiredness during driving including planning regular stop breaks and overnight stays if you’re planning on a long journey. Other measures suggested by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) can be found here”
Other drivers on the road might not be as prepared and alert as you. If you’re unlikely enough to be involved in a road traffic accident give the Accident Advice Helpline a call on 0800 689 7221 where an advisor can talk you through the process of making a compensation claim.