Technology

New device monitors data, stops you from dozing off

December 19, 2013

A new headset designed by university students tracks blinking patterns and eye movement to determine how awake the user is. - AFP/Relaxnews pic, December 19, 2013.A new headset designed by university students tracks blinking patterns and eye movement to determine how awake the user is. - AFP/Relaxnews pic, December 19, 2013.We all occasionally find ourselves dozing off at inconvenient moments, but a new wearable device claims to be able to put an end to untimely sleepiness by measuring alertness and nudging the user awake if necessary.

Vigo is a headset which uses an infrared sensor to track blinking patterns and eye movement to determine how awake the user is.

When it senses the wearer is flagging, it jumps to the rescue, either by vibrating softly, flashing a light or playing a pre-selected music track.

It constantly monitors data, taking into account blink rate, blink duration and the ratio of time an eye is open versus closed.

Designed by three students at the University of Pennsylvania, Vigo also lets users take pictures on their phone by winking, receive LED light notifications when they get a text message and even control PowerPoint slides by blinking.

The device weighs around 20 grams, is activated through Bluetooth 4.0 and works with any iOS or Android device, including phones and tablets.

The project is currently on crowd-funding website Kickstarter and is being manufactured by HAXLR8R in Shenzhen, China. The team behind Vigo hope to ship the device in mid-2014.

It's the latest wearable tech prototype to get some buzz in the same week that Google announced updates to the software for its Glass headset, which will now also allow users to take photos by winking, although the device too is still in a test phase. - AFP/Relaxnews, December 19, 2013.