We've seen technology developed to monitor a driver's eyes for drowsiness, alerting them when their focus might be lapsing. The Vigo wearable energy gauge works on a similar principle, yet aims to expand this to other everyday tasks that are likely to induce those heavy eyelids.
The device looks like a simplified Bluetooth headset (and in fact connects to a smartphone running a companion app over Bluetooth 4.0). It uses a built-in infrared sensor, an accelerometer and an algorithm to monitor your level of alertness by tracking your blinks and your body's movement.
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When wearing the device, Vigo records various parameters each time you blink, such as duration and eyelid closing and reopening time and transmits this data to the app for processing. When it detects sleepiness, the device "nudges" the user, alerting them to their drowsy state and prompting them to re-focus.
How and when Vigo nudges the user is fully customizable. Users can set the device to vibrate, play a song or illuminate the LED notification light depending on the chosen level of sensitivity. The app also logs usage data and can display alertness patterns to allow users to plan tasks that require full concentration for times when they're least likely to be feeling drowsy.
Weighing 20 g (0.7 oz), Vigo contains an ARM Cortex 16 MHz processor, a Bluetooth 4.0 chip, an infrared sensor, a 6-axis accelerometer and gyroscope. It is powered by a rechargeable lithium-polymer battery, which the company says lasts two to three days depending on usage.
Vigo is compatible with any iOS or Android device that supports Bluetooth 4.0, but is not yet available to buy. The company has launched on Kickstarter, where the early bird pledge level for one of the first 200 single units in black or white is US$59. Pending successful funding, shipping is estimated for May 2014.
Have a look at the pitch video below.