• Driving distracted: The link between fatigue and losing concentration on the road

    30th October, 2019
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    Understanding the link between fatigue and distraction is a vital step towards preventing road accidents.

    We don’t need to tell you that distracted drivers are a significant problem on today’s roads, or that the consequences of distracted driving can be horrific.

    In America, a reported 25% of motor vehicle crash fatalities are due to distracted driving. In reality, the figure is likely to be even higher – unless they admit to it, it’s hard to accurately measure whether a driver was distracted at the time they had an accident.

    The top four causes of fatal car accidents are: 

    • speeding
    • alcohol consumption
    • fatigue 
    • inattention/distraction. 

    All four of these causes are preventable. In terms of speeding and alcohol/drug consumption, we know what needs to happen at an individual level and in terms of road monitoring and law enforcement. 

    When it comes to fatigue and distraction, however, the problem is more complex.

    Distracted how?

    So, what exactly is meant by ‘distracted driving’? Broadly speaking, it means that a driver is paying attention to another activity while they’re driving. 

    Because we’re not as good at multitasking as we’d like to think we are, when our focus shifts to another activity it can reduce our standard of driving. We may:

    • be less observant
    • react slowly to hazards
    • speed without realising
    • decrease following distance
    • make poor driving decisions.

    Driver distractions can be divided into two categories:

    1. External
    2. Cognitive

    External distraction includes breaks in concentration that are:

    • visual (taking your eyes off the road)
    • manual (taking your hands off the wheel)
    • auditory (not hearing as well as possible).

    Cognitive distraction is internal and happens when you’re unable to remain attentive or are thinking about something unrelated to driving. Typically, cognitive distractions mean that you pay less attention to scanning the road environment and checking your mirrors for hazards. You may also underestimate how distracted you are.

    Where does fatigue come in?

    Fatigue intensifies the extent to which we are distracted, and in fact is the underlying cause of distracted driving. 

    When it comes to external distractions (for instance, when our attention is diverted by something we see on the side of the road), they’re more likely to impact our driving performance when our attention is already compromised because we’re tired. 

    Cognitive distraction is even more closely linked to fatigue. The ‘wandering mind’ or ‘zoning out’ we experience when we’re cognitively distracted is often a direct result of fatigue.

    Detection and prevention

    Detecting signs of fatigue and distraction is crucial to preventing accidents. Over the years, different technologies have been developed in order to do this, from monitoring steering patterns and vehicle position to observing the driver’s eyes and face. 

    But cognitive distraction can’t be accurately detected using these techniques because there aren’t always visible changes in the driver. That’s where brainwave monitoring comes in. Our SmartCap Life wearable solution

    • regularly measures a driver’s brainwaves using state-of-the-art electroencephalogram (EEG) technology
    • detects driver fatigue in real time
    • generates early warning alarms to warn drivers when they’re showing signs of fatigue and distraction. 

    By accurately measuring and reporting fatigue and distraction based on brain activity, SmartCap is consistently delivering dramatic safety improvements, year after year, across industries including mining and road transport. Contact us today to find out more. 

  • Tiny nap, big danger: Understanding microsleeps

    8th October, 2019
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    While we’re all familiar with the phrase “falling asleep at the wheel”, the image of a driver slumped over the steering wheel with his eyes shut as his vehicle veers off the road doesn’t tell the full story of fatigue-related accidents.

    In reality, that driver who’s about to crash may be sitting up with his eyes wide open. While he continues to drive, part of his exhausted brain has switched off. He hasn’t “fallen asleep” in the conventional sense; he’s having a microsleep.

    What is a microsleep, exactly?

    A microsleep is an unintended loss of attention that can happen when you’re fatigued and doing something monotonous, like driving a car or sitting at a computer. It’s also (as the name suggests) short – lasting from less than a second to 30 seconds.

    During a microsleep, parts of the brain go offline while other parts keep working – so you can essentially be asleep while you’re still sitting upright with your eyes open. Creepy, right? When you’re driving, a microsleep might mean you don’t notice a red light, or another vehicle in your path, or a curve in the road ahead.

    How dangerous are they?

    We all know driver fatigue is a factor in many road accidents. But how significant is the problem?

    Pretty significant, according to the Victorian Government’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC), which notes that:

    ● Drowsy driving is suspected to be a primary cause in more than 20 percent of road fatalities. That’s fatalities, not  just accidents.
    ● The more severe the crash, the more likely it is that fatigue was a factor.
    ● Fatigue is thought to play a part in nearly a third of all single-vehicle crashes in rural areas.

    America’s AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety studied drivers who’d fallen asleep and crashed. It found, alarmingly, that nearly half of them reported feeling only “slightly drowsy” or “not at all drowsy” before the accident, demonstrating that when we’re tired, we don’t realise how tired we are. Typically, most people need to be asleep for two to four minutes before they acknowledge they’ve been asleep. When we consider this in the context of driving, we see just how dangerous a microsleep of just a few seconds can be.

    The risks of microsleeps, of course, aren’t limited to the roads – there are people all over the world, every day, operating industrial machinery, flying planes, overseeing work and using equipment, who pose a risk to themselves and others if they lose control due to a microsleep.

    Famous examples of fatigue-related accidents include the world’s worst nuclear disaster at Chernobyl and the Challenger space shuttle explosion (both in 1986), as well as multiple airline crashes.

    How to avoid microsleeps

    Perhaps the most important thing to remember about fatigue is your body can’t actually fight the need to sleep. When you’re tired, chemicals build up in your brain that will cause you to fall asleep – no one is immune to the risk of microsleeps.

    There are ways to guard against them though: 

    ● Get a good night’s sleep before heading off on a long trip.
    ● Don’t travel for more than eight to ten hours a day.
    ● Take regular breaks every couple of hours at least.
    ● Avoid travelling at times when you’d usually be sleeping.
    ● Take a powernap if you start getting drowsy.

    In commercial and industrial settings, preventative fatigue technology is delivering dramatic results by tracking driver alertness in real time. At SmartCap, we’re working with industry – from mining to road transport – to monitor drivers and operators and make fatigue incidents a thing of the past.

  • US trucking companies set to benefit from SmartCap’s pioneering driver fatigue technology

    1st October, 2019
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    Australian company SmartCap Technologies is expanding into the US trucking market. SmartCap’s wearable technology prevents microsleeps by providing accurate fatigue measurements in real time to operators and drivers.

    SmartCap’s LifeBand headgear can be worn under a cap by drivers and uses state-of-the-art EEG technology to provide the earliest and most accurate detection of fatigue risk in real-time. LifeBand connects via Bluetooth to a display within the cabin, where the Life App provides real-time fatigue measurements and empowers drivers to proactively manage their alertness, anywhere, anytime.

    “We are confident that we can transform the American trucking industry, making it safer and significantly reducing the risk from fatigue both for drivers and the businesses who employ them,” said SmartCap CEO Tim Ekert. “Across a nation as vast as the US, transportation of goods by truck is hugely significant – the industry employs millions of drivers and generates hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue each year.”

    “By eliminating microsleeps, our real time fatigue technology eliminates the number one cause of driver accidents in the workplace,” Ekert pointed out.

    SmartCap’s technology was originally developed to overcome the limitations of other fatigue monitoring systems in the mining industry. Over the past decade, it’s been put to use by some of the world’s biggest companies, from mining to road transport.

    “All of our clients see dramatic results when they implement SmartCap technology. We’re working with industry to make driver fatigue incidents a thing of the past,” said Ekert.

    “We are excited by the prospect of making a positive impact on the US trucking market, both in terms of the safety of drivers along with reducing the costs associated with fatigue related accidents.”

    SmartCap will be exhibiting at the American Trucking Association (ATA) 2019 Management Conference & Exhibition (MCE) at the San Diego Convention Centre, where leaders from across the country will meet from 5-9 October.

    Visit www.smartcaptech.com for more information about SmartCap.

  • SmartCap Attending 2019 ATA MCE Conference

    17th September, 2019
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    SmartCap’s CEO Tim Ekert, global sales manager Gavin Juhasz and business development managers Omar Jimenez and Lisa Lane look forward to attending this year’s American Trucking Associations (ATA) Management Conference & Exhibition (MCE) from 5 – 9 October in San Diego, California.

    This high-profile event brings together nearly 3,000 trucking leaders from across the country and highlights economic, regulatory and business trends focused on driving the success of fleets today and in the future.

    We look forward to networking and hearing from industry leaders as we expand into the US trucking market. We are excited at the prospect of making a positive impact on trucking in the US with SmartCap’s state-of-the-art wearable technology – both in terms of driver safety and by reducing the costs associated with fatigue-related accidents.

  • PRESS RELEASE: Tim Ekert Appointed New CEO of SmartCap Technologies

    30th November, 2017
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    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 30th November 2017. SmartCap Technologies has announced the appointment of Tim Ekert as the company’s new CEO. He will assume responsibilities on 18th December 2017 and will succeed Dush Wimal who has stepped down and will operate as VP of Global Sales.

    Tim has spent his career in the mining services industry, most recently as part of the senior management team at Austin Engineering.  He brings a strong focus on building operational capability, innovation as well as experience in product development, growing sales and marketing teams.  He has qualifications in engineering and business.

     

    “SmartCap’s predictive fatigue management technology provides significant benefits to our clients resulting in improvements to both safety and productivity and I look forward to meeting with our clients to discuss these benefits and support their implementation” said Tim.

    “I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead SmartCap and am excited to be working in conjunction with the SmartCap’s team to realise the potential of our market leading technology”.

    “We’re very excited to welcome Tim to the SmartCap team” said Charles Gillies, Chair of SmartCap.  “Tim has the skills and experience to continue to build SmartCap’s position as a world leader in fatigue management, starting with the mining industry.”

    The SmartCap Board also expressed its thanks and appreciation for the work done by the outgoing CEO, Dush Wimal.

    Founded in 2009, SmartCap Technologies is an innovative wearables company located in Brisbane, Australia. The technology behind Life by SmartCap was initially developed to overcome the limitations of fatigue monitoring technologies. Today, SmartCap is used by some of the world’s largest companies in the mining industry.   

    For more, visit www.smartcaptech.com and follow us @smartcaponline and on LinkedIn.

  • Are you Still Exhausted Following 7+ Hours of Sleep? These may be the Reasons why

    18th August, 2017
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    WRITTEN BY: ANITA DOBBYN, SmartCap Marketing Assistant

     

    There is nothing worse than getting a rough night’s sleep, but what’s worse is getting a perfect night’s sleep and having absolutely no explanation for the exhaustion that is felt later. I am sure I am not the only one that has been perplexed by a sleep tracker that has suggested I have gotten the ideal amount of sleep.

    How can you get a solid 8 hours of rest but still find yourself in a zombie-like trance? Research suggests that there are several other reasons causing our fatigue.

    One of the culprits behind your 4-a-day coffee benders could be medication. From antidepressants to a simple antihistamine, there are so many medications that can cause fatigue. While it is not logical to go off any type of medication ever, it is important you keep yourself well informed and fatigue monitoring technologies can protect those people that may be at risk due to medication.

    You also might want to assess your lifestyle choices, as they play a big part in your levels of fatigue. If foods high in sugar and saturated fat are almost staples in your weekly diet, maybe a consultation with a dietician can assist you in making some improvements.

    Pair a new-found love of healthy food with 30minutes of exercise a day and you might just have a bit more of a spring in your step! Changing your lifestyle choices and habits takes time, so take it day-by-day, make small lifestyle changes at first then gradually work towards adopting a brand new way of living.

    Feeling sluggish even after a long nights rest? There are more factors behind your fatigue than how many Z’s you’re catching. (Image: Shutterstock)

    Another reason you may be feeling fatigued is due to an undiagnosed health condition. For myself, I spent many years feeling exhausted, regardless of the amount of sleep I was getting.

    When I was a teenager, I self-diagnosed myself as just being a teen that needs sleep (Thank you Dr. Google for the support over the years). Eventually, Dr. Google’s theory came unstuck when a blood test confirmed I was in fact anemic. I knew my hate of red meat would catch up with me eventually. 

    Luckily, anemia isn’t an incredibly serious health problem and supplements can help, except for the days when I forget to take them.

    However, there are other health conditions that are far more serious and they all can cause you to feel fatigued. Medical conditions such as diabetes, an underactive thyroid, chronic fatigue syndrome and sleep apnea all can cause fatigue. All present their own set of challenges, particularly the conditions which are treated by medication that has fatigue as a side-effect.

    So, don’t just assume fatigued is always sleep related. There are many factors that contribute to feeling fatigued and this article only brushes the surface. If you were once bewildered by your feelings of fatigue despite how much sleep you were getting, I hope this puts some of the pieces of the fatigue puzzle together for you.

     

    You can read more about the symptoms and causes of fatigue here. 

  • What I’ve Learned Wearing the LifeBand at the Office

    21st July, 2017

    WRITTEN BY: DR. DANIEL BONGERS, SMARTCAP INVENTOR, AND CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER 

     

    I’ve worn SmartCap products for thousands of hours over the years; in mining trucks, road trains, planes, cars, for many long days in the office, and even in my kayak. But as time has passed and as I’ve moved further away from product development, I seem to now mostly use our product when I drive.  

    Last month that all changed, when our new VP of Product Development, Brett Carswell, asked us to test the new Life by SmartCap app release. Since then, I’ve worn it every day and I’ve quickly learned that my changing role (and maybe a little aging) has brought about some different patterns in my alertness throughout the day. 

    I’ve always considered myself a night owl. Whether I was writing algorithms or business plans, afternoons and late nights was when I did my best work. Not so anymore. The numbers don’t lie, and the verdict is in – I’ve become Mr. Average. Of course, I’d like to think I’m special in some ways, but when it comes to my peak times of performance, I’m like most; 9 am to midday is my time to shine!

    The likely explanation is that I’ve adopted a healthier rhythm of getting to bed at a sensible hour, coupled with the fact that I’m well into my thirties (yes, that’s how I choose to say it). My afternoons show a window from 3 pm to 4 pm when I’m still quite sharp, but by 6 pm it’s time to call it a day. 

    So now what? Do I run to the marketing department and tell them that I have some cool insights that show how awesome our product is? Well yes, but it’s also time to make some changes. 

     

    Despite what I hope my boss thinks, some of my tasks are more on the mundane end of the spectrum – so it’s time to move them to early afternoon or late afternoon; the more demanding tasks I’ll hit mid-late morning.

     

     

    “…I only found out that my own assumptions about my alertness didn’t align with reality because I measured it.” 

     

     

    It’s not a ray of light from the clouds by any measure. However, I only found out that my own assumptions about my alertness didn’t align with reality because I measured it. So while I get a little more productive, maybe you can buy a LifeBand or two and do the same!

     

     

     

     

     




     

  • Life by SmartCap brings leading science to more industries

    24th May, 2017

    SmartCap’s patented EEG sensors and independently validated algorithm remains at the heart of their latest innovation, but the Life product suite boasts an array of new features that opens up a range of new applications.

    The first generation product the SmartCap (Top) and SmartCap Technologies latest innovation Life by SmartCap (Bottom). The wearable LifeBand can be inserted into any type of headwear including hardhats, beanies, and caps. 

    SmartCap’s legacy of providing in-vehicle early warning alerts are now accompanied by a Smartphone application that receives the information from the LifeBand wearable in real-time, via Bluetooth. For the first time, workers can monitor their alertness anywhere, anytime. The Life App also provides the user with personal reports and progress tracking to support wellness initiatives.

    SmartCap’s innovators were passionate about crafting a piece of technology that would further empower users to manage their own fatigue and give companies the broadest spectrum of data possible. Management can now use LifeHub, SmartCap’s cloud-hosted analytics suite to observe company-wide holistic trends and use real data to complement their approach to managing risk.

    The LifeBand is more comfortable than the first-generation SmartCap product and has an inbuilt battery that lasts 7x longer.

    SmartCap Technologies Chief Technology Officer and the inventor of the unique SmartCap algorithm Dr. Daniel Bongers believes that Life is a huge step forward.

    “Life really takes our core technology to a whole new level.” Dr. Bongers said.

    “Our vision was to allow individuals to manage their fatigue no matter where they are, so they can get home safe every day. To see this vision come to life has been extremely exciting and so far, the feedback from our customers has been tremendously positive.”

    Further information about Life by SmartCap can be found here

  • PRESS RELEASE: Major investment to aid SmartCap’s Global Expansion

    22nd May, 2017

    SmartCap’s ground-breaking product, Life, is the world’s most effective fatigue monitoring solution that provides real-time feedback, helping drivers manage their own alertness, anywhere, anytime. The technology also allows supervisors access to data that enables them to make fact-based decisions that keep their workforce safe.

    Today the company announced it had secured funding from Jolimont Global, a private equity group that invests in high growth mining equipment, technology, and services companies,

    SmartCap CEO, Dush Wimal, said the investment would principally be used to expand the company’s reach internationally. “We are obviously thrilled with the investment from such a highly-regarded firm, which is a terrific vote of confidence in SmartCap.” Mr. Wimal said.  “This partnership will help us expand more aggressively into the global mining and other markets, and offer the benefit of the Life product to many more customers.”

    Jolimont Global Chief Investment Officer, Charles Gillies, said that this investment would help drive innovation and productivity improvements in the mining and other industries.  “We are very impressed with the SmartCap team and its ability to execute in complex and dynamic markets.” Mr. Gillies said. “Life is a world leading product in predictive fatigue management and will drive a step change in safety and productivity.”

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    About SmartCap Technologies

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    Founded in 2009, SmartCap Technologies is an innovative wearables company located in Brisbane, Australia. The technology behind Life by SmartCap was initially developed to overcome the limitations of fatigue monitoring technologies. Today, SmartCap is used by some of the world’s largest companies and has expanded beyond mining.   

    For more, visit www.smartcaptech.com and follow us @smartcaponline and on LinkedIn.

    For all media inquiries please contact Ms. Kristy Hamilton:  kristy.hamilton@smartcaptech.com

     

    About Jolimont Global Mining Systems

    Jolimont Global

     

     

     

    Jolimont Global invests in high growth mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies. The METS sector presents outstanding investment opportunities, magnified in an environment of volatile commodity prices and historically high operating costs. Mining companies rely increasingly on METS companies to provide incremental as well as step-change solutions to improve productivity and lower costs.

    Jolimont Global has a highly experienced senior executive team with extensive commercial experience in mining, technology, private equity and finance. Jolimont Global is a joint venture between Jolimont Capital, a technology investor founded in 2003 and Resource Capital Funds.

    www.jolimontgms.com

  • PRESS RELEASE: SmartCap and Newtrax: A world first collaboration for global underground mining operations

    4th May, 2017

    Brisbane, QLD – 04 May, 2017- SmartCap Technologies have announced their new collaboration with Newtrax Technologies. These two industry-leading safety solution providers will be working together over the coming months to adapt Life by SmartCap, a world-first solution that will suit underground mining conditions.

    The new initiative will bring many benefits to both operators and supervisors alike. Life provides real-time alerts to prevent microsleeps before they happen, empowering users to be their own fatigue manager. Supervisors will have real-time data access so they can make fact-based decisions that keep their workforce safe.

    Newtrax Technologies, based in Montreal, Canada, is the leading provider of safety and operations management solutions to the global underground hard rock mining industry. Newtrax’s connectivity solutions are designed to support real-time data applications underground, enabling a quicker timeframe for the implementation of Life for SmartCap customers. The integrated solution will allow for intervention from control rooms on site, in real-time when a high-level fatigue alert is received.

    “Newtrax is always looking to enhance its systems with novel sensors and the SmartCap Life product is a perfect addition to our safety portfolio. We expect most of our customers to select this option to achieve a more comprehensive monitoring of hazards.” Said Alexandre Cervinka, CEO of Newtrax.

    “Working with Newtrax, proven leaders in safety and communications for underground hard rock mining provides SmartCap with an exciting opportunity to be able to deliver our validated fatigue monitoring solution to underground workers. Our partnership with Newtrax will integrate key technologies to improve the safety and efficiency of underground miners.” SmartCap Technologies VP Product Development, Mr. Brett Carswell.

     

    For all media inquiries please contact Ms. Kristy Hamilton: kristy.hamilton@smartcaptech.com