To track the level of alertness during work, a team of researchers has developed a tool that tracks alertness by measuring pupil size, captured through a burst of photographs taken every time users to unlock their smartphones.
The findings, published in the journal ACM Digital Library, showed that the pupil-scanning reliably predicted alertness.
Traditional methods of analyzing alertness tend to be cumbersome, often including devices that must be worn. Researchers wanted to create a way to measure alertness unobtrusively and continuously.
When people are alert, the sympathetic nervous system causes the pupils to dilate to make it easier to take in information. When they’re drowsy, the parasympathetic nervous system causes the pupils to contract, the team said.
For the study, the research team included two studies conducted over two years.
The new tool could be particularly useful in healthcare since medical professionals often work long hours doing intricate and important work.