What does the SmartCap Measure?

The SmartCap measures something very specific – an individual’s ability to resist sleep. Microsleeps only occur when we fail to resist sleep; they don’t occur when we choose to rest. For people operating equipment, resisting sleep is a natural, sometimes subconscious behaviour. It is when our ability to resist sleep diminishes that we become at risk of a microsleep. This is why ability to resist sleep is the most relevant safety measure for equipment operators.

Why measure “ability to resist sleep”?

Fatigue as a concept is somewhat grey. Terms such as vigilance, alertness, tiredness and fitness to perform are often used in place of fatigue, all with the same sentiment but subtly different definitions, and none of which consistently correlate with how a person is feeling. What can be said with certainty is that all fatigue incidents that have occurred to date, in any setting, were unintentional. This illustrates that individuals that progress to microsleep are in-fact unaware moments before the microsleep, and also that despite all natural instinct to do so, those individuals were unable to resist progression toward microsleep. As such, we strongly believe that the most relevant safety measure is an individual’s ability to resist sleep (often times despite how they feel) while performing a task. This is what the SmartCap measures, and what it was independently validated to measure.

How Fatigue Levels are calculated?

The underlying measurement behind the SmartCap levels is brain activity. Often referred to as EEG (or electroencephalogram), brain activity has been the golden standard in sleep science for over 30 years. The SmartCap measures this activity and determines a high resolution frequency profile of the signal which spans the delta, theta, alpha and beta frequency bands of EEG. All frequency information is analysed using EdanSafe’s proprietary Universal Fatigue Algorithm to determine a level of alertness.

A number of confirmation steps are required, including the analysis of at least 17 seconds of EEG information, before a fatigue level can be shown on the SmartCap screen. Even more confirmation is required when significant impairment related to fatigue is suspected. Once significant impairment is suspected, the SmartCap system shows a level 3+. Calculations continue, with new levels being determined at regular intervals. If strict criteria are met over a period of approximately 4-6 minutes, the SmartCap system will confirm its highest level; a level 4.

What do the SmartCap Fatigue Levels mean?

The SmartCap Fatigue levels are shown as numbers on the SmartCap display, with higher numbers indicating an increased risk of microsleep.

Level 2: This is a normal level of alertness, where the SmartCap is not detecting any signs of a lowered ability to resist sleep.

Level 3: This is a normal level of alertness, where the SmartCap is detecting the first signs of a lowered ability to resist sleep.

Level 3+: Suspected impairment related to fatigue

Level 4: Significant impairment related to fatigue, associated with an increased risk of microsleep.

Does a Level 4 mean I have had a microsleep?

A Level 4 does not mean a microsleep occurred, nor does it mean that a microsleep was imminent. A level 4 indicates an increased risk of microsleep. That risk is further heightened by a low stimulus environment, and is best reduced by operator action and activity.

Do I Always See A Level 3+ Before A Level 4?

The simple answer to this question is yes, but the level 4 may not always immediately follow the level 3+.

Without getting into the inner workings of our software, the following is a more specific description of the requirement to confirm a fatigue level 4: For a level 4 to be confirmed, a minimum of two (2) of the last three (3) confirmed fatigue levels must have been a Level 3+.

In other words, in the 4-6 minutes prior to a level 4, you will definitely have seen at least one level 3+.

How accurate is the SmartCap?

The SmartCap doesn’t measure how you feel. It measures what scientists refer to as your ability to resist sleep while performing a task.

Independent tests show that the SmartCap is close to 95% accurate in detecting when operators are impaired by fatigue. Or is correct 19 out of 20 times. This is very accurate, but it is important to remember that no technology is perfect. The report is available from your supervisor for your review.

Why does my fatigue level regularly change between Level 2 and Level 3?

It is normal for your fatigue level to bounce between Level 2 & 3. These are normal levels of alertness and no action needs to be taken. If you start to see Level 3+ registering more often you should consider taking action to help manage your fatigue.

Sometimes I don’t think the SmartCap numbers match how I feel. How’s that possible?

From time to time you may feel more or less fatigued than shown by the SmartCap. It is important that you remember the golden rule. If you feel the need to pull up, whether this is shown by the SmartCap or not, it is your responsibility to contact your supervisor. In addition, you should also contact your supervisor if you receive a Level 4 SmartCap alarm, regardless of how you feel.

I’m concerned about my health. Is it safe to use?

Like many everyday devices, the SmartCap system uses Bluetooth for short distance communications. Any device that uses Bluetooth must be thoroughly tested to strict standards to ensure it is safe for you to use.

SmartCap been certified as safe for General Public Use, copies of the certification is available from your supervisor.

Do I have to turn it on when I start Shift and off when I finish?

The screen inside the truck will always be powered and ready. When you plug a SmartCap card into your SmartCap, it will turn itself on. The only thing you need to do is wear the SmartCap, respond to alarms and replace the card if the battery is low.

Why does the screen keep turning off?

The screen will dim after being on for 30 seconds. This is to make sure there is not too much light inside the cab during night shift. The screen will come back on if:

You receive a fatigue alarm (3+ or 4)

You receive a low battery message

You touch the screen

The system loses connection

What happens if the SmartCap gets wet?

You should be careful to make sure that the SmartCap is dry before use. If it gets wet, let it dry before using it. If you need a replacement SmartCap, contact your supervisor.

Is it affected by sweat?

A small amount of sweat is OK, however large amounts of sweat will cause the system to show the message: ‘Adjust Cap’. This is rarely an issue since SmartCap users at operations with high temperature / humidity are usually working in an air-conditioned cab.

How long does the battery last?

The battery in the SmartCap card will last 4-6 hours. If you receive a low battery message on the screen, you should change the card when it is safe to do so.

If you plug a card into your SmartCap but a Bluetooth connection isn’t made within one minute, remove the card and try again. If it fails a second time, the battery may be flat. Try with a different card.

What happens if I take my SmartCap off temporarily?

If you take off your SmartCap while the card is plugged in the system will detect this within 30 seconds.

Is there any interference with radio, cellular phones or others?

No. Devices do not interfere with the SmartCap, and the SmartCap does not interfere with other devices.

Do I need to use the same SmartCap card each time?

No. All cards are the same. Use any of the cards.

Do I need to make my cap tight?

No. The SmartCap does not need to feel tight to work. If it is too loose, you may see the message ‘Cap Off’ or ‘Adjust Cap’. If this happens, you should tighten your cap a little.

If you find you need to wear the cap too tight to make it work and you get headaches, let your supervisor know.

Do I have to wear my SmartCap all the time?

Yes. Now that you have been trained, if you are assigned a truck that is fitted with SmartCap you are expected to where your cap whenever you are part of an active haul cycle.

How is it possible to get a Level 4 alarm at the start of shift?

Fatigue affects everyone in different ways, and how tired we are depends on a number of factors. While we know that the risk of fatigue is more significant in the early hours of the morning, it is possible for you to be affected by fatigue at any hour of the day. The best preparation for a shift is to be well rested, with at least 7 hours of sleep. If you receive a Level 4 SmartCap alarm, you must contact your supervisor, regardless of the time of day, and again, it is your responsibility to contact your supervisor if you feel you are fatigued at any time within your shift.

What do I do if I accidentally take a processor card with me?

If you can return it to the truck prior, please do so. If you are unable to, please hand into your supervisor, clearly advising which truck the processor card is from. If you have left site, you will need to arrange to get this back to site as soon as practical.

Who do I see if I have forgotten or lost my cap?

See your supervisor. They will be able to issue with a temporary cap until you find your cap or can be issued with a replacement. SmartCaps are not consumable items and you are responsible for ensuring you have the cap with you every shift. If you do lose a SmartCap you will need to discuss this with your supervisor and superintendent.

Why count microsleeps when you can prevent them?