SmartCap may look like a regular baseball cap, but it is equipped with brainwave technology that can alert workers of fatigue and also calculate danger on the job. The tech in SmartCap analyzes brain activity to keep professionals like coal miners, truck drivers, and machinery operators awake while at work. SmartCap bills itself as a fatigue management tool for anyone who operates heavy equipment, since recording brainwaves would be a dystopian nightmare for most desk jockeys. But at coalmines and processing plants, staying awake is a standard matter of workplace safety.
The baseball cap exterior of SmartCap houses an electroencephalogram (EEG) system that continuously analyzes the wearer’s brainwaves. The EEG results are fed into SmartCap’s proprietary algorithm in order to produce a risk assessment number. SmartCap alerts systems then warn employees to signs and symptoms of fatigue in real time. These alert systems can indicate signs of fatigue before they become obvious to the wearer.
To keep the metrics private, the analysis results are fed directly to the employee. That way, each individual wearing a SmartCap can manage his or her own fatigue levels. When truck drivers at coalmines in the Hunter Valley show dangerous signs of fatigue, they are required to discuss fatigue management plans with their supervisors. Sometimes, fatigue management is as simple as taking a break or hydrating. The dangerous implications of monitoring employee’s brains created concern when SmartCap first hit the scene. Since then, personalizing the data so each wearer has control over their own results has been an important mission for SmartCap.
SmartCap has already logged over one million hours analyzing employee brainwaves. Since 2012, it has become a staple in countries like South Africa, Chile, and Australia, where mining props up local economies. Beyond mining employees and heavy machinery operators, SmartCap also hopes to expand to aviation, public transportation, and more. SmartCap believes alertness is important in any office environment, but it may still be a little too much to ask desk workers to sign over access to their brainwaves.