Truckers have some of the longest and tiring work shifts of modern times. Could a smart trucker hat help them deal with these long hours?

All kinds of techwear exist, from smart baby socks to a color-changing fabric. The same goes for IoT devices from trash cans to lightbulbs.

So why not innovate a smart trucker hat, as well?

A Smart Trucker hat Treating Symptoms, not the Problem

The Heavy Truck Division of Ford’s Brazil branch created SafeCap to help truck drivers. The cap functions as a smart trucker hat to fight sleep deprivation.

Known for driving long distances on little sleep, truck drivers can often struggle with staying awake. On top of regular sleep deprivation, they also have to combat road daze — something you get when driving for long periods of time.

One of the more long-term solutions to this problem might be adjusting truck drivers’ hours to allow for adequate sleep. But, in the short term, using tech to provide “smart hats” isn’t a bad solution to prevent accidents or injuries.

The creative agency GTB based in Sao Paulo worked with Ford to research the cap’s production. Before approaching the hat’s features, they needed to know what kind of head movements signaled fatigue, lack of sleep, or a diminished attention span.

After finishing their research, Ford and GTB developed the software to power the hat. They added sensors, as well as a gyroscope for more accurate monitoring and driver alerts.

image of Ford SafeCap for article Did you Know About the Smart Trucker hat? Because I Sure Didn't
Ford via Fast Company

A Neat Idea That Didn’t Take off

Mapping those head movements allows the cap to differentiate from normal movements. Things like checking your rearview mirrors and your engine cluster won’t trigger the hat’s mindfulness alerts.

If the driver shows signs of fatigue such as head nodding, the hat uses vibrations and lights to awaken the driver. The video above and the prototype image make it seem like a practical and worthwhile device. But no one has talked about since it launched in 2017.

However, there is something known as the “Smart Cap” that has clients like BHPBilliton and Unitrans. Not only does it feature similar alertness traits, it has a dedicated app and claims to eliminate microsleeps.

The company also serves some mining companies, but beyond that, “smart hats” don’t seem to be too popular.

These manufacturers are missing out on a key market: college students. You’re welcome.

Are devices like this the way of the future or are they treating a symptom rather than a cause?

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