Anyone who has ever driven a long distance will know the feeling of “zoning out”. You lose focus on the road, staring blankly in front of you, your reaction time lengthens, and sometimes people even fall asleep.
In the UK it is estimated that about 20% of accidents are caused by people nodding off at the wheel, but a breakthrough at the University of Leicester might help to put an end to this problem.
Researchers have been working on a system that combines high speed eye tracking and EEG technology, with one application being to alert drivers who show signs of drowsiness.
These forms of technology have traditionally been difficult to marry together, EEG use has been around for decades and any epileptic person will have had experience of it. The EEG system involves wearing a kind of cap with electrodes attached that measure neurone activity in the brain. Once a cumbersome affair this can now be carried out using a lightweight headset, a far cry from the rubber cap manually fitted with sensors and cables that I grew up with.
A contemporary EEG
The eye monitoring technology involves infra red cameras measuring how LED light reflects from the user’s eyes, monitoring where the user is looking, how often they blink and other signs of distraction and sleepiness.
The researchers at Leicester have made the breakthrough of devising a way to use these different measurements together, something that has not been possible in the past.
Applications go much further than saving lives however. The developers point to uses for people who cannot use their arms, as they could control machinery using their eyes and thoughts. Even more importantly for some, the technology could be used to control video games, so that a player would no longer have to use a console of any sort but could communicate through measuring where their eyes were looking and the patterns in their brains.
A lot of University students will be turning their attentions to their long-term futures over the coming months with millions graduating from their courses this summer. As a result the demand for jobs is likely to increase and, as we all know too well, the number of positions available is far outweighed by the number of applicants.
This can cause many job seekers to get disheartened and end up working in fields that have no use for their skills or abilities. The whole three years at Uni can seem like a complete waste of time, while the debt continues to rise making you even more frustrated!
For those completing computer or media-related courses, the opportunities are always on the rise, with more and more brands looking to move into the online space and with those that are there already trying to expand wherever possible. Traditional newspapers and magazines are moving into digital sectors and many companies and brands are looking to develop their existing websites or to create new ones that will help them to grow their brand identity.
This means that even if you had your sights set on a career in PR or journalism, for example, you could be presented with a series of opportunities that are not exactly what you may have wanted or what you had considered previously but could suit you to a T. For instance:
You might have been the sort of person who loved coming up with innovative designs and you spent every spare few minutes you had doodling on pieces of scrap paper to stay entertained and develop your skills. The graphic design industry is one that’s difficult to get into, but web design is a sector that is growing rapidly.
As the demand for game-changing websites continues to grow, more and more creative people are needed. If you have knowledge of how websites work as another string to your bow, you might find your true calling in web design.
SEO is a rapidly growing industry, and is now a major global employer.
Search engine optimisation has turned from a small acorn into a mighty oak in the past decade or so as a result of technology and websites developing. Site and company owners all want to reach the top of the search engine results for specific terms and phrases so that they get as much business as possible. The higher up the rankings you are, the more likely you are to be seen and that is their target.
To do this, you need experts who are capable of implementing a series of strategies to help find their way to the top. Anyone with knowledge of how sites work, meta descriptions, link building and other forms of “tech wizardry,” can get into SEO a growing and ever-evolving sector.
Hobbies have always been an inspiration for many successful people. While most of us attempt to pursue “safe careers” by going for occupations that may bring us monetary benefits, pretty often we lose sight of our hobbies in our busy lives.
However, with the internet boom many people can now change that. There are many success stories, from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates who ruthlessly pursued their goals and didn’t follow the bandwagon. But in this article I am going to explore a few more down to earth examples.
What is to follow is a list of five e-businesses that started as a hobby or a small idea that brought immense success to their owners. While the below examples might not contain websites as famous as YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, they are examples that we can all relate to, and maybe borrow a few ideas from!
The Million Dollar Homepage
I still remember watching a report about the guy who set up The Million Dollar Homepage on the news (can’t remember if it was BBC or CNN). The founder of The Million Dollar Homepage (Alex Tew) sold pixels of his website for $1, to raise money for his University expense. The site was such a success that it turned out to become a website that is nothing more than several pixels of small ads. I hope by now you would understand what I meant when I said, “examples that we can all relate to”.
When it comes to novel ideas that made people money, this website takes the cake. It provides a service that I wouldn’t have comprehended, had I not learned about this website.
Find A Grave is a website that helps people locate the graves of a famous people. It turns out that Jim Tipton liked to visit the graves of famous personalities and used this idea to create a kind of search engine that helps people locate graves of famous people.
So if you have a hobby of visiting famous places or areas that can help, say vacationers, then you might be the next big success story.
PickyDomains is another idea that got me scratching my head. The founder of the site was good at coming up with interesting names, so he started a crowdsourcing service that allowed people to seek help in finding interesting domain names and slogans.
The idea was to let a community of people provide novel names and not to rely on bots, which arguably lack imagination. If you have been looking for vacant domain names in a domain search engine, then you will know what I mean.
So if your friends, family and bots have failed you, then it might be time to seek advice from a community of people, who just like coming up with cool names and slogans.
While the Gawker Media website itself is successful enough, it is worth pointing out that this media groups is perhaps the world’s most famous blogging network.
The reason I have included the Gawker example is because one thing that most of us can do easily is blogging (something I’m doing right now).
Gawker Media has the world’s most successful blogs ranging from Lifehacker, Gizmodo to many others. The Gawker network was started by Nick Denton who is a journalist and an entrepreneur. While he claims that blogging isn’t that profitable, he has still made millions from his successful line of blogs.
I know I said there will be down to earth examples in this post, but I have to add this one. I have been following Amazon since I was a child and have seen the company grow beyond belief.
What started as an online book store was soon to become one of the first e-stores in the world. But it was not just a good idea that made Jeff Bezos the world most successful e-retailer, but the fact that he took risks when it mattered.
It is said that the company did not expect any profit for five years, which also made shareholders a bit edgy. Nonetheless, the internet gold rush paid off and Amazon, which diversified, became one of the most successful companies in the world.
The above mentioned examples are just a few of many success stories that made people successful because they dared to use their ideas to materialize them into something successful (even if someone enjoyed visiting graves).
The point is that it might not be too late for any of you try out something that may allow you to turn your abilities into something successful, and to let you in on a secret, I’m already trying out something myself, guess I don’t want to regret not trying my hands at the internet gold rush either.