Driving while intoxicated remains one of the largest safety issues facing the United States today. Thousands of people die in DWI-related car accidents each year.
The new SmoothEye, from a New Jersey company of the same name, resembles typical safety goggles. But attached is an infrared diode and small black camera that tracks the user’s eye movements to accurately measure alertness and focus level. The device is programmed to conduct the same sort of field sobriety test that’s used by police to estimate alcohol intoxication. Consumers can also use the device to discover what distracts them and what helps them focus. Backers who make a pledge at the early bird price of $149 or more are expected to get the device in March. Its maker is looking to raise $30,000 in crowdfunding.
SmoothEye lacks the fashion sensibility of a wearable device like the Vive Smart Bracelet, which was developed by students at the University of Washington and featured at Microsoft’s Design Expo, that can also measure a user’s intoxication level. SmoothEye is just too bulky for the average consumer to travel with it to a bar or other location outside of the home where it would most come in handy. The fact that it, at least initially, must be attached to a Mac or Windows PC to be used only makes matters worse. It is not yet compatible with any mobile devices. Still, the notion of a device that may prevent DWI’s is certainly welcome on the market, however awkward it may be.