Steer is a new wearable that is currently doing the rounds on Kickstarter. What makes this wearable different to most others though, is that it is only designed to be worn during one specific activity – driving. More to the point, it is wearable that is only designed to do one thing – keep a driver awake and alert while driving. The way the wearable works is that Steer is worn on the wrist when behind the wheel, and while driving will constantly measure aspects like the driver’s heart rate and skin conductance to determine the driver’s current state of alert. In total there are 16 sensors included in the device which collectively look to measure these two aspects, and the readings are then compared against a ‘control’ reading which is first determined during the first minute of the device being worn. As to be expected, when the device registers a drop in these aspects, the driver is warned. Which in the first instance, comes by way of a visual cue (yellow light on the wearable), along with a vibration.
Here is where things get interesting though. If the measurement continues to drop in spite of the initial warning, Steer will then activate a “gentle electric shock” feature. Designed to immediately result in the driver waking up, while also making physical changes to the individual’s chemical, neurotransmitter, and hormone makeup – such as the serotonin, cortisol, and melatonin levels. Essentially, not only waking the driver up again, but also restoring the driver’s levels to ones that are more in line with a driving-relevant state of well-being. Besides the immediate benefits of such a system, the team behind Steer also suggest that it is a safer one too. Suggesting that the use of Steer is “better than 2-3 cups of coffee/cans of energy drink” and without any negative side effects.
As for the device itself, there is not a lot to focus on here. With this being a device that is purely designed to monitor and respond, it lacks many comparable features or design aspects to other wearables. The battery inside however, is said to be a 500 mAh battery which can offer up to two weeks of usage, or remain in a usable state for up to 30 days when inactive. When it does need to be recharged, a full recharge is expected in one hour. The body makes use of “hypoallergenic plastic” while the strap is adjustable to provide a one-size-fits-all option. If this sounds like something that you might be interested in, then it seems you are not alone. The project went live on Kickstarter on July 20 and reached its (just shy of) $6,000 funding goal by July 22. At present, backers are still being accepted although the project is due to finish on July 31. As for the price, backers can secure a Steer bracelet for either €89 ($105) or €99 ($115), which seems to be a fairly substantial discount from its recommended retail price of €199 ($230) per unit.