Next generation of devices: hearables

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Nearly one-third of drivers admit to drowsy driving at one point or another. It's an especially high risk for professional truckers. (KFSN)

Nearly one-third of drivers admit to drowsy driving at one point or another. It's an especially high risk for professional truckers.

"There's about 3.5 million truck drivers who experience nearly a half million crashes a year. A large part of these are what are call preventable incidents," said Craig Campbell, Maven Machines.

Now, a device called the co-pilot can put a 'bug in the ear' of truckers if they are not driving safely. It's the latest in a new kind of technology called hearables.

The co-pilot's Campbell said the gadget will talk you back on track.

"There's a headset with Fitbit-like sensors that track very accurately a driver's motion in 3D space, so we know when drivers making mirror checks."

The earpiece is connected to an app on your smartphone. When mirror check activity decreases, a warning goes off.

It's targeted at truckers now, but a smaller version is in the works for regular drivers.

"We've only yet scratched the surface of what this category can represent," said Shawn G. Dubravac, Consumer Technology Association.

Sales are expected to explode. Technology experts said there are some hearables in the works that will make you really listen up-- imagine traveling and having a translator in your ear.

"If I were on vacation in Italy, even though I don't speak Italian, I might be able to understand the conversation simply because the earpiece I am wearing has real-time translation services built in," said Dubravac.

While some offer things like calorie counting, sleep monitoring, or fitness tracking, hearables go beyond today's wearables.

"If you're running, you might be able to get in-ear coaching," said Dubravac.

Campbell said he counts on his in-ear driving coach.

"I was without one for a few days and I really missed the safety net of protection."

If you are still worried about how it will impact your hearing some devices offer certified hearing protection, ensuring that high decibel sounds do not damage the ears while still allowing users to hear their environment.
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