Driving while tired can be extremely dangerous, which is why Ford made the SleepSuit to simulate the feeling of drowsiness behind the wheel.
The SleepSuit is actually a set of weighted gear. It includes a weighted vest, cap, and limb braces which are supposed to make drivers feel the strain of moving their limbs when drowsy. Altogether, the set weighs 18 kg or just under 40 pounds. The extra weight makes moving, let alone driving, much harder.
That’s not all that’s special; the SleepSuit also uses a pair of tinted goggles which mimic the absence of awareness during microsleep. When enabled, the lenses turn pitch black and completely blocks vision. Sound scary? This is a phenomenon that actually happens in traffic!
After donning the weights, every tester is put through a mini obstacle course where they must respond to changing signs while the goggles switch between transparent and opaque. When I tried it, the added weights and the obstructed vision made reacting to “stop” and “go” commands extremely difficult.
The SleepSuit is already in use to educate young drivers on the risks of sleep deprivation. Ford is placing more emphasis on younger drivers because they tend to do over-night study sessions and force themselves to stay awake for social events. But adults who overwork experience similar strain, which is why the sleep suit can be tremendously helpful for all drivers.