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Navy pilot program uses smart watches and rings to test whether ship drivers are well rested

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SAN DIEGO — The Navy is asking some sailors to wear devices such as smart watches and smart rings to monitor their sleep after exhausted ship crews was found to be a leading cause behind two collisions involving destroyers that left 17 sailors dead, according to the Naval Health Research Center.

The new devices, called “wearables,” are part of a new push to develop a “digital real-time fatigue monitoring and management capability for the fleet” that can be used to optimize watch-bill scheduling and staffing decisions based on sailors’ fatigue risk, said Rachel Markwald, a sleep and human performance research physiologist at NHRC, which studies medical and psychological factors that affect sailors’ performance and readiness.

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