Fatigue has dramatic consequences at workplaces. According to a study conducted by the National Safety Council (NSC), an employer may expect to lose $1 million per year due to Fatigue. They even provide an online calculator to estimate the cost consequences.
We all experience Fatigue when driving a car and are aware of the potential risks. The Virginia Tech Transportation Office estimated that 20% of the car accidents were related to Fatigue.
A survey by the US Center for Disease Control found that organizations that invest in employee wellness programs typically find absenteeism decreases by 40%, turnover by 25%, and accidents by 50%.
With multiple healthcare-related sensors, smartwatches are more than simple trackers. Still, they now can measure vitals important in assessing fatigue levels such as heart rate variability, sleep patterns, sleep quality, blood oxygen level, and so much more.
In the last years, companies and academic researchers developed algorithms to leverage the accuracy of the smartwatch sensors to detect and even predict Fatigue levels and ultimately suggest rest periods or ways to stay efficient and safe at work or real-life conditions.
EPFL Academic Researchers at the forefront of fatigue detection
The EPFL University in Lausanne, Switzerland, is renowned for the high standards of its research. In collaboration with scientists from the EPFL’s Embedded Systems Laboratory (ESL), the Lausanne University Institute of Sport Sciences (ISSUL), the Lausanne University Sports Center, and the startup be.care, they developed a fatigue detector system based on the analysis of Heart Rate Variability (HRV).
The HRV corresponds to the small-time differences between two consecutive heartbeats. They aimed at using these milliseconds shifts to differentiate between two types of Fatigue, agitated and lethargic, and adequately treat the people.
They used an Android Smartwatch and Chest-trap monitor to collect and process the data with the hope of bringing their algorithm to the market via a startup, Be.care, co-founded by Pr. Grégoire Millet.
The ultimate goal is to detect Fatigue and offer holistic remedies, change in nutrition, aromatherapy or hydrotherapy, to get back on track and ultimately improve the quality of life and work productivity.
Unfortunately, despite the many promises of such an approach, the startup’s website is now on hold, and little news, if any, has been released about their progress.
This is not the case for the Canadian company Fatigue Science, one of the leaders in predictive fatigue analytics to heavy industry and military.
How is Fatigue Science building the fatigue smartwatch market?
Fatigue Science Inc. aims to combine sleep science data acquired with a smartwatch into actionable guidance that will improve efficiency and reduce accidents.
The applications of such technology are used in multiple industries, including Mining, Oil&Gas, Heavy Industry&Transportation, Military, Research, and even elite sports.
Contrary to the EPFL research mainly focusing on physical Fatigue, Fatigue Science is dedicated to analyzing cognitive Fatigue caused by poor sleep. This type of Fatigue is the one that leads to increased reaction time and poor judgment, ultimately responsible for compromised safety at the workplace.
Cognitive Fatigue is mainly due to sleep deprivation and sleep desynchronization. The company developed its biomathematical models and algorithms based on the research developed by the US Army.
The interest of the US Department of Defense for fatigue date more than 60 years ago, which is normal when considering that tired soldiers will be less efficient and will potentially put their lives and team members at risk.
The algorithms used by Fatigue Science make the most of the SAFTE Fatigue Model (Sleep, Activity, Fatigue, and Task Effectiveness) model initially developed by the Walter Reed Hospital Research center and extensively tested and validated by the US Military, US Department of Transportation, and Federal Aviation Administration.
What is the Ready-Watch?
The Fatigue Science algorithms are available as a smartwatch app for Garmin, Fitbit, and their own company ReadyWatch.
Developed by Fatigue Science, the Ready-Watch combines the best of sleep tracking and fatigue monitoring.
More than a wearable device used for sleep monitoring, rem sleep detection, and heart rate monitoring, the ReadyWatch is also a fatigue management device.
Based on the data collected during the night, the SAFTE algorithm will predict the potential Fatigue episodes. In addition, the Ready-Watch will inform workers before elevated fatigue periods.
When waking up, the watch will also act as a personalized fatigue predictor for users to plan their day and minimize risks optimally.
More than just an informative device, the Ready-Watch also provides personalized and actionable advice that can make a significant difference in the quality of your rest and dramatically improve the days.
To wrap up
Fatigue Science is leading the development in the Fatigue Smartwatch field. The Ready-Watch and platform made the most of the sleep research conducted by the US army during the last 50 years.
By accurately tracking sleep and predicting downiness episodes, Fatigue Science offers new ways to stay efficient and safe all day long.