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.

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.

Sources: Vigo, Kickstarter

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    About the Author

    Nick Lavars

    Nick was born outside of Melbourne, Australia, with a general curiosity that has drawn him to some distant (and very cold) places. Somewhere between enduring a winter in the Canadian Rockies and trekking through Chilean Patagonia, he graduated from university and pursued a career in journalism. Having worked for publications such as The Santiago Times and The Conversation, he now writes for Gizmag from Melbourne, excited by tech and all forms of innovation, the city's bizarre weather and curried egg sandwiches.

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    • I would suggest that if you really need a device like this you should not be allowed out unsupervised......!

    • At 2 AM or so, out on an endless stretch of dark New Mexico highway, something akin to this would have been a nice thing to have in my car. I briefly nodded off. Thankfully, the blare of horn from the 18 Wheeler and flash of it's bright lights, pulled me back, both of us swerving. YIKES! Yes, I soon pulled off the road.

      I think that such things might exist for cars already? If not, they should. The radio blaring Coast to Coast about Aliens, ghosts and what not, failed horribly in supervising! I pass this very highway spot from time to time and think...

    • Usually the fact that I am feeling sleepy alerts me to the fact that I am feeling sleepy...


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