In 2018, Juniper Research predicted that smart clothing would lead the growth in the wearable market. In 2015, Tractica forecast the market for smart clothing would grow rapidly. In line with those early predictions, Tokyo-based Xenoma, Inc.‘s e-skin wearable apparel may soon help make public transportation safer.

The Xenoma and Shinki Bus Group project aims to develop a wearable solution that detects bus driver drowsiness. Earlier this month, the project launched the first round of testing. We’ve written about driver drowsiness detection previously. In 2014 we wrote about SRG international’s Driver Alert Detection System (DADS). DADS uses a digital camera linked to a system for visual and audible alerts. Creative Mode’s Steer wearable uses sensors to detect heart rate and skin conductivity, flashing lights and delivering gradually increasing shocks to help a driver regain alertness.

The Xenoma and Shinki solution doesn’t use cameras, which the group says aren’t sensitive enough to detect microsleep. During the initial testing phase, the focus is on detection with various sensors integrated into e-skin garments. The team will also collect data on factors in addition to drowsiness that can result in accidents, near misses, and dangerous driving behaviors.

Fully-autonomous vehicle development proceeds slowly. Until that time when all vehicles can prevent accidents, the Xenoma and Shinki Bus Group e-skin project could eventually result in significant traffic safety improvements.