Falling asleep at the wheel is a major danger for motorists, and a leading cause of accidents for truck drivers. So Ford Motor Co. and the Sao Paulo office of GTB, WPP's global creative agency for Ford, invented SafeCap. It looks like a baseball cap, but it's really a piece of wearable technology that keeps drivers from falling asleep at the wheel. GTB mapped truck drivers' movements to identify which ones are job-related and which indicate the neck muscles are relaxing as the driver drifts off to sleep. SafeCap is equipped with sensors to interpret those head movements, and issues three warnings to alert the driver when imminent sleep is detected. If the cap's vibration doesn't jerk the driver awake, there's also sound and light.
"The SafeCap is a feat of tech, design, and utility and we believe it has great potential to protect drivers and save lives around the world in the very near future," says Icaro de Abreu, GTB's head of Digital and innovation.
Unfortunately you can't run out and buy your own Ford SafeCap yet. It was developed as part of Ford's celebration of 60 years of selling trucks in Brazil, and a prototype was introduced recently during an international truck fair held in Sao Paulo. Ford hopes to launch a version of SafeCap for sale in the next year. The first step is building awareness about SafeCap to create enough demand to make the product affordable for drivers.
SafeCap isn't the first effort to make hats into wearable technology. To kick off Colombian utility company EPM's solar energy program, EPM and DDB Colombia came up with solar sun hats, for people who live in a part of Colombia so remote that there is no electricity, and people walk home in the dark and light their dwelling with candles. But they do have blazing sun, and people already in the habit of wearing hats all day. So EPM gave them new ones called Sun Hats, with tiny solar panels that are fully charged by eight hours of sun. At night, they turn into flashlights similar to a miner's headlight to provide four hours of light.