Sleep Alert: A Review of a Driver Alert Sleep Warning Device. A New Device Helping to Stay Awake While Driving
Since we assume that our target audience consists of neither truckers nor conveyor operators with monotonous jobs as our web site is devoted to cool and useful gadgets that prove their worth on a daily basis, we had a hard time linking the application of this anti sleep alarm to our general contents. But we really wanted to test this item. As far as we remember, Sleep Alert is the one and only neuro-technological device that registers brain activity (through EEG (Electroencephalography)), determines muscular activity and tracks blinking frequency, which is incredibly cool! Let’s go ahead!
Stay alert - Stay alive!
Frankly speaking, the idea is very cool and admirable. Of course, it is not usually needed in the course of daily life, but the item can be extremely handy to those who like road trips or to drive late at night and early in the morning.
Do you often go on road trips lasting for over five hours when your eyes begin to stick together? We do. So the first thing that came to our minds was to pull an all-nighter sitting in the darkness and working in front of the laptop until 4 a.m. making sure our eyes stick together and we are sleepy.
Here it is, Sleep Alert. The package is fine, the manual has many illustrations. It seems like everything is intuitively clear. But things were not as straightforward as they seemed.
Charging is the first step. We had to figure out what connects to what, what should be plugged where and how everything works. The first problem was with charging the band. According to the manual, it is supposed to be changed, but after fidgeting with it for a while trying to find a USB port I failed initially. It turned out that I had to slide the moving block to its side like a USB key.
First you’d better figure out how it helps to stay awake while driving, we tested it during the day when we were awake. Both the band and head sensor are charged and have blue illumination. In theory when you are awake and not tired, this anti-sleep driver alarm is supposed to be silent and show zero reaction.
The developers were in touch all along our trial and they commented all of our experiments with this stay-awake device.
False Alarm or Danger Alarm? When and Why Does Sleep Alert Signal?
I’m staring at the screen and chewing an apple. My brain is wide awake, everything is charged. The anti-sleep alert fits so tight, it hurts. The clip is fasted on my ear and my hair is brushed back off the forehead. The metal circle on the inside of the alert is pressed against my forehead; everything is according to the manual. However, every 5-7 minutes the sensor on my head turns red and beeps twice.
“When you are eating an apple, the device indicates loss of EEG signal. If the device loses said signal while operating, the indicator will beep twice and turn red. This is what happens when you bite an apple as relatively strong muscles create motion in your jaws. The amplitude of EMG (Electromyography) signal substantially exceeds that of EEG signal when you merely blink. Electromagnetic noise blurs the EEG signal from jaw muscles when the user begins to bite or chew intensely for a long period of time. Clench your teeth strong enough and the mirror will show you the anti-sleep alert signaling red.”
This is when I decided to get a mirror to see when I lose signal. The indicator becomes red and beeps every 5-7 minutes. Then, in the next two minutes, it turns blue again. During these two minutes I’m either typing on my laptop or drinking coffee.
“Such triggering is caused by two factors, namely: 1) the device alerts you of not only approaching to the critical level of fatigue, monotony accumulation and falling asleep but also warns you of losing concentration on external stimuli, i.e. when you experience a mental relaxation and are plunged deep in your own thoughts. This is essential to avoid highway hypnosis, a meditative state. 2) The system is triggered by an abrupt change in a user’s mental state. For instance, you’ve been driving in a slow pace when suddenly a situation requiring quick action arises. Our activity level escalates and high-frequency brain waves mobilize, and the signal warns us of this.”
For the sake of accuracy I’ve decided to sit with my eyes looking down without any movement. Nothing happens, the anti-sleep doesn’t alert me. Neither does it when I close my eyes. On the other hand, false alarms and loss of signal happens when I’m moving.
“Although this is a rare case, sometimes electrode contact can be fully or partially lost when moving. In some situations the band can fail for an instant because of abundance of wireless devices. In general we don’t believe such false alerts are dangerous. They can be somewhat irritating, but the fact that the system works when it should is more important. If you are sitting with your eyes closed but your brain is quite active, the alert won’t go off because it detects a sort of a trick. To make sure it works, you can put this stay-awake device before going to sleep and try to fall asleep. You are bound to fail,”
Five Rules of Using This Stay-Awake-While-Driving Device
As far as you, our dear gadget fans, have understood, this driver alert sleep warning device is not a child’s toy. You should take this indispensable device seriously especially when driving. What do you need to know before putting Sleep Alert on?
- The system tracks your brain activity (through EEG), detects muscular activity and blinking frequency. It determines when you are tired, pondering and are about to fall asleep of monotony, i.e. it helps the driver not to lose cautiousness, However, abrupt gestures or emotional showdown during driving can confuse this system.
- The charge is sufficient for six hours of operation.
- The anti-sleep alarm system will be triggered when you lose concentration and are deep in your own thoughts while driving. This is vital for avoiding being highway-hypnotized.
- When you are driving peacefully and suddenly the situation changes and requires quick action, your brain activity surges and so do high-frequency brain waves. The device will react to this change in conditions.
- This anti-sleep alarm can go off when overtaking. There are different kinds of overtakes, though, as the alarm will remain silent if you are confident in your racing skills and calm. If you feel emotional about this maneuver and it causes an adrenaline rush, the device will alert you. In this way, you might want to think about the safety of your driving if the anti-sleep alarm went off when overtaking.
As you could see for yourself, in most cases the device helped you stay alert rather than go off falsely and by mistake. The system tracks the slightest changes in your state (some of which you don’t even notice) and gives you a warning.
Most people consider to be a high price for this Sleep Alert, but this is not a mass product and not everyone really needs it. The price for this device that can prevent an accident caused by attention loss and that has no analogues is quite justified.
Our view is that this is an excellent pro-innovative device based on scientific approach and ensuring increased vigilance and, most importantly, saving driver’s life.
There are virtually zero rivals. So far there are few devices on the market that are responsible for a driver’s life. These are behind-the-ear devices or Driver Rings or special windshield cameras. Their price tags start at ~$2.