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The next big tech: hearables

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Posted at 12:20 PM, Feb 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 12:20:18-05
This next generation of devices will do everything from helping you order food while in Rome to helping you stay awake while you drive.
 
Nearly one-third of all drivers admit to drowsy driving at one point or another. Craig Campbell with Maven Machines says truckers are at a high risk of driving while drowsy. "There's about 3.5 million truck drivers who experience nearly a half million crashes a year. A large part of these are what are call preventable incidents."
 
Now a device called the "Co-Pilot" can put a bug in the ear of truckers if they are not driving safely.  It's the latest in a new kind of technology called 'hearables'.  
 
The Co-Pilot's Craig Campbell says the gadget will talk you back on track. "There's a headset with Fitbit-like sensors that track very accurately a driver's motion in 3D space, so we know when a drivers making mirror checks."
 
The earpiece is connected to an app on your smartphone.  When mirror check activity decreases, a warning goes off.  It's targeted at truckers now, but smaller versions are in the works for regular drivers.
 
Technology expert, Dr. Shawn Dubravac, says 'hearables' will really help you listen up.  "If I were on vacation in Italy, even though I don't speak Italian, I might be able to understand the conversation simply because the earpiece I am wearing has real-time translation services built in."
 
While some offer things like calorie counting, sleep monitoring or fitness tracking, 'hearables' go beyond today's wearables.
 
Craig Campbell says he counts on his in-ear driving coach. "I was without one for a few days and I really missed the safety net of protection."
 
Worried how it will impact your hearing?  Some will offer certified hearing protection, ensuring high decibel sounds do not damage the ears while still allowing users to hear their environment.