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Improved highway safety delivered by app developed for astronauts

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A custom version of SleepFit, a mobile app developed by Pulsar Informatics, Inc., has been used in a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) study to assess the impact of recently revised safe driving regulations for commercial truck drivers.

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The mobile app was developed with competitive funding from the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI). The Institute's Space Medical and Related Technologies Commercialization Assistance Program (SMARTCAP) supports highly meritorious and innovative projects, such as SleepFit, and is managed through the NSBRI Industry Forum.

"Pulsar Informatics and its collaborators at Washington State University performed one of the largest real-world studies ever conducted with commercial motor vehicle drivers," said Dr. Daniel Mollicone, CEO. The study included 106 participants and recorded 1,260 days of data and nearly 415,000 miles of driving.

"The DOT's use of a customized SleepFit is a concrete example of how research funding to improve the health and job performance of astronauts can often be applied to benefit people on Earth," said Dr. Dorit Donoviel, NSBRI deputy chief scientist and Industry Forum lead. "Astronauts must contend with irregular sleep patterns, as do workers in the transportation, energy and healthcare industries."

The customized SleepFit allowed drivers to complete brief alertness tests before and after driving. The study also assessed driving performance, such as lane and speed deviations. Drivers wore wrist activity monitors that measured sleep and wakefulness. The study confirms the science used to make the hours-of-service rule more effective at preventing crashes that involve sleepy or drowsy truck drivers. A report was released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Jan. 30.

Tools to detect and manage fatigue are being developed for astronauts with NSBRI and NASA support. The NSBRI Industry Forum, through its SMARTCAP funding opportunity, accelerates the development of products that enable safe and productive human spaceflight and create new business opportunities on Earth. Applications for SMARTCAP grants can be submitted year-round at www.smartcap.org.

About NSBRI and Industry Forum:
NSBRI, is a 501(c)3 organization funded by NASA. Its mission is to lead a national program to mitigate the health risks related to human spaceflight and to apply the discoveries to improve life on Earth. The NSBRI Industry Forum fosters the commercialization of space-compatible health care and human performance solutions. For more information, please visit www.nsbri.org and www.nsbriforum.org.

About Pulsar Informatics:
Pulsar Informatics, Inc. develops state-of-the-art technology for assessing behavioral alertness and other tools to help individuals and organizations achieve peak performance and reduce fatigue-related risk. For more information, please visit www.pulsarinformatics.com

Related Links:
News Release FMCSA: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/about/news/news-releases/2014/release-14-01-30.aspx

Research Brief: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/facts-research/research-technology/tech/Efficacy-of-HOS-Restart-Rule-Research-Brief.pdf

Full Report: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/facts-research/research-technology/report/Efficacy-of-HOS-Restart-Rule-Report.pdf  

SOURCE National Space Biomedical Research Institute

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