Nov 5, 2017 | By David

As exciting and futuristic as they may seem in theory, the introduction of smart wearables to the tech marketplace has had mixed results so far. For every minor FitBit success, there has been a major Google Glass flop to stop the industry from making much progress. A French company has recently released a prototype for some similarly tech-enhanced eyewear, but this device looks set to have significantly more impact. The new 3D printed Ellcie-Healthy glasses from Optic 2000 are designed to prevent motorists from falling asleep at the wheel.

Many millions of people are injured or die on the road each year, and the potentially revolutionary impact of the self-driving car on road safety remains limited, for the time being, due to its prohibitive cost. This means that more immediate technological solutions need to be found to prevent such a tragic loss of life in avoidable automobile accidents. With this in mind, French optical company Optic 2000 focused in on one particular cause - motorists falling asleep at the wheel.

In France, one in four car accidents in 2016 was a result of people losing consciousness and thus control of their car. In a survey, only 62 percent of drivers said that they take breaks when they start to feel tired. Optic 2000 reported that, according to estimates, preventable automobile crashes generate a national socio-economic cost of around 6 billion Euros a year. The company decided to team up with startup Ellcie-Healthy to develop an innovative solution to this issue.

The Ellcie-Healthy glasses mount is set up to detect early signs of fatigue or drowsiness in a motorist. It has a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and infrared thermal and light sensors, which together can pick up telltale signs such as head dropping, yawning, and eye blinking. When any of these signs is detected, red LEDs on the mount will start to flash, or a buzzer will sound. It can also be connected via bluetooth to a smartphone, which will ring or sound a warning when the motorist is in need of a break from driving.

The glasses mount can be worn or fitted to a regular pair of corrective lenses. A smartphone app has also been developed to be compatible with the device. Known as Driver by Ellcie-Healthy, it can gather data about the driver’s geolocation, pause time and driving time to process relevant and useful information. The Ellcie-Healtly mount is a result of over a year of research and development, with the INRIA (National Digital Research Institute), LEAT (Electronic Laboratory of Antennas and Telecommunications) and LAHMESS (Laboratory for motor human motor system education and sports health) all involved in the process. A driving simulator was used to test out the effectiveness of the device in various conditions.

The mount was made by Ellcie-Healthy using 3D printing technology to be lightweight and water resistant. It can operate autonomously for 24 hours before it needs charging, so it’s suitable for any journey or amount of driving time. It will be released on the market in 2018, in most of the 1.2 million Optic 2000 outlets throughout France. Retail price is expected to be around 210 Euros, which is a small cost for the potentially life-saving benefits offered by this latest 3D printing breakthrough.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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