What and When:
An anti-sleep device intended to reduce the risk of accidents caused by driver fatigue developed by Troels Palshof. The Danish entrepreneur began research in 2006 and the product was completed in 2010.
Why and How:
Troels Palshof was inspired to create this product after having nearly been in a traffic accident himself in 2006 when he was en-route to Arhus from Copenhagen after a late business meeting, a drive which takes approximately 3 hours. After his scare, he did more research and found that 40% of vehicle traffic accidents are caused by drowsy driving. This encouraged him further to develop this safety product aided by 125 individuals including, designers, sleep scientists, mathematicians, road traffic and electronics engineers. The product took 4 years to develop and is a simple device that is planted on the dashboard near the driver.
The product works by constantly calculating the fatigue level of the driver and keeps the driver informed via the display. The fatigue level is calculated through an individual risk profile, which is determined through a short questionnaire, the fatigue status before the trip and data from the anti sleep pilot using sensors. The anti sleep pilot then continues to maintain the drivers alertness at 10 to 25 minute intervals, where the pilot emits sounds and tests the drivers reaction time to touch the top of the anti sleep pilot. If the driver does not appear to be alert enough then the anti sleep pilot will recommend the driver to take a break.
In my opinion, this is a sound product and a great way to increase safety of driving by designing beyond the object. However, I’d be wary of relying on the product 100% as there may be potential problems. One of them being that the product would run out of battery or that the driver would add inaccurate data before driving. Alternatively, the sound and tests the product may irritate the driver so much that he may not want to use the product, or distract the driver making it unsafe to drive with.