Headset Knows When You’re Focusing, Doesn’t Allow You to Drive If You’re Not

EEG headset 1 photo
Photo: Maxime Lorant on Wikipedia
We were led up to believe that once we pass the license test, we’ll be able to drive whenever we feel like it. And up until this point - and maybe a few more years into the future as well - that’s exactly how things stood.
However, alcohol and drugs are not the only impediments to our ability to drive, and the other ones are so stealthy, even we are not always aware of them. For instance, we usually pull over when we feel we’re about to fall asleep, but in reality, our reflexes had been affected for a while only we were either unaware, or we chose to ignore that aspect.

You can’t always drive only when you’re 100 percent up for it, but with this device installed, the car can make it less likely that you suffer a crash. Using a headset with an EEG (electroencephalogram) scanner, it can monitor the driver’s level of awareness and limit its maximum speed, for instance.

This devilish device was developed by Alchemy Technology together with electronics manufacturer Acer, and it’s meant to be a safety device that basically forces drivers to pay attention to the road at all times.

The technology was showcased using an RC car that refused to go unless the remote control operator showed it the required amount of attention. Do that, and a series of green LEDs light up on the headset, signaling that you’re good to go. But lose that focus, and the speed will start to decline, until actually coming to a complete halt.

Carlos Rebato, the Gizmodo journalist who experienced the device firsthand, says that, after a while, you start to figure out what is expected of you, and the whole mind-controlling thing becomes natural. But as we’ve all learned in school, maintaining our concentration is even harder than getting it in the first place, so just because the car is moving now, doesn’t mean you can relax just yet.

The technology opens up a lot of possible applications, and if it can be fine tuned to ensure it’s not more of a nuisance than actually helpful, it could play a serious role in the reduction of the number of accidents.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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