The Bluetooth headset that keeps you awake at the wheel | Cult of Mac

The Bluetooth headset that keeps you awake at the wheel

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While it rests in your ear, the Vigo headset keeps an eye on you to make sure you stay awake at the wheel.
While it rests in your ear, the Vigo headset keeps an eye on you to make sure you stay awake at the wheel.
Photo: Vigo

Cult of Mac CES 2016 full coverage Pounding coffee and Red Bull can only do so much to keep a driver from falling asleep at the wheel. But one company has developed a discreet Bluetooth headset that nudges you before you doze off.

The Vigo Bluetooth headset uses an infrared sensor, an accelerometer and an algorithm that tracks blinking patterns and head motion and notes changes to quantify mental energy in real time.

In addition to wake-up calls, the Vigo headset – which made its debut Tuesday in Las Vegas at CES – also lets you take phone calls just like the common Bluetooth earpiece.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports about 100,000 accidents annually caused by drowsiness, leading to about 1,500 deaths and more than $12 billion in damages. Consider that there are 5 million professional drivers, such as truckers, who are on the road who are behind the wheel 10 or more hours a day.

Companies, like Seeing Machines, have developed dashboard trackers that monitor blinks, head and facial movements, but Vigo is one of the first to reduce the technology to a small package that syncs with an app in your iOS or Bluetooth device.

How it nudges you awake is up to you. A driver can set it to gently vibrate, activate an LED or play a favorite song.

Vigo, founded in 2014 by Tiantian Zhang and Jason Gui, raised $60,000 on Kickstarter that year and shipped more than 2,000 units to backers and other customers last year.

The headset is available on the Vigo website for $129.

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