A growing number of Australians are having their brains monitored in the workplace.

While it may sound like science fiction, some major Australian companies are embracingthe braintechnology as a way of reducing the impact of fatigue on the safety and productivity of their staff.

Workers at several Australian mining companies are already using the technology, which analyses their brain waves through the working day, and other sectors like aviation and oil and gas are starting to follow suit.

Dubbed "SmartCap", the device looks like a regular baseball cap but is wired up with equipment to conduct regular electroencephalogram (EEG) tests on the wearer.

The information is analysed to determine the alertness of the person wearing the cap and relayed to them immediately, as part of efforts to reduce fatigue-related accidents in the workplace.

"Most of our customers at the moment are using SmartCaps for vehicle or truck equipment," Dan Bongers, one of the creators of SmartCap, says.

"When you wear the SmartCap it is taking measurements of your brainwaves … It is taking that information and processing it through our proprietary algorithms and coming up with a number which is an assessment of risk, it is a measurement of your ability to resist sleep and that is put on a scale for you to respond to."

SmartCap emerged from the co-operative research centre for mining and has been in daily operation on some Australian mine sites for almost three years.

For dump truck drivers at Rio Tinto's coal mines in the Hunter Valley, the SmartCap is used to provide an early warning for when a driver is approaching a microsleep.

Source: The Sidney Morning Herald - See full article