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The Internet of Everything: to most of us, it refers to machines we can monitor from afar, using computers and smartphones to keep tabs on our thermostats, refrigerators, and cars. But more generally, the Internet of Everything refers to the way in which objects of all kinds are becoming connected to one another and to the internet.

This presents a host of new opportunities for communication, health monitoring, and more. (For reference, see Fitbit and every wearable/carryable on Kickstarter.) A research firm in Spain is using this kind of technology to address the very serious problem of drowsy driving.

According to the Biomechanics Institute of Valencia (IBV), fatigue is a contributing factor in eight percent of traffic accidents in the European Union, accounting for roughly 100,000 collisions,125,000 injuries, and €8 billion in damages. In cases involving fatalities, driver fatigue is responsible for between 20 percent and 35 percent of accidents. (That’s on par with some U.S. estimates.)

And so, IBV created HARKEN: a safety concept that uses sensors embedded in the driver’s seatbelt and seat cover to monitor cardiac and respiratory rhythms. The goal is to alert the driver when she’s beginning to get sleepy in the hopes that she’ll pull over and get some rest or let another driver take the wheel.

Drowsy driving is a major safety problem throughout the world. Though the HARKEN concept is in its early stages, it could come in very handy during the long transition to self-driving cars (after which drowsy driving shouldn’t be much of an issue, we hope).

For more details, have a look at IBV’s demo video embedded above.

[via Mashable]

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