New gadget may detect fatigued truck drivers before they cause an accident

A new gadget about to hit the market within the next year or two, called the Fujitsu FEELythm Wearable, keeps tabs on a trucker’s fatigue level, tension and stress with a 90g weight sensor worn around the neck and attached to the earlobe. It is no secret that deaths related to trucking accidents in the United States are at an all-time high nationwide, and even more so in Texas due to the oil and construction boom.

The maker has devised a proprietary algorithm that gauges a driver’s level of drowsiness. It accomplishes this by automatically calibrating to each person’s individual circadian rhythms, thus enabling it to detect when someone is becoming fatigued. An added bonus is that the sensor can also be linked to onboard digital tachographs and fleet management systems that alert dispatchers, allowing them to provide the trucker with instructions.

A tachograph is a device fitted to a truck, or other vehicle, that records its distance and speed. The ‘drive mode’ activates when a vehicle is moving and defaults to ‘other work mode’ when stopped. The sensor’s batteries have the capacity to last up to five days, allowing for its continued use during long drives.

Units went on the market in Japan in March. It is a novel approach to help solve a deadly problem. If the sensors come to the U.S., they may help reduce big rig accidents.