Andrew McKune’s background in stress physiology led to a working relationship with KJR on the development of FatigueM8, a smart steering wheel technology. FatigueM8 has been designed to assess long-haul truck drivers heart rate variability in order to detect and predict fatigue allowing them to proactively manage their fatigue throughout their drive.
With almost 20 years in academia behind him, and 8 years of experience researching heart rate variability, Andrew’s commitment to rigorous testing and the continual questioning of data makes him a powerful ally in the development of research to demonstrate the efficacy of fatigue aids.
Andrew is also interested in how this technology has the potential for further reaching applications, not just to measure fatigue, but as a tool that can be used as a holistic approach to driver health and wellbeing.
Andrew talks to KJR about his love of science, how he became involved with FatigueM8, and why he believes it’s important to use science to develop solutions to real-world problems. This sentiment is echoed in his advice to future scientists; “engage with the community you want to work with. That’s the way you’re going to make an impact.”
KJR: From a glance at your LinkedIn profile, people might be wondering why KJR considers you an industry ally! As an Associate Professor in Exercise Science, can you tell us a little bit about how technology fits into that world?
Andrew: I was contacted by Andrew Hammond (KJR GM) over a year ago. He was reading a research paper as part of his background reading for more development of the system that we’re working with and my name was there as one of the reviewers.
I’m an Associate Professor of Exercise Science but my main background is looking at stress physiology. That’s my main interest, and heart rate variability is a way of monitoring the stress response, which I’ve used since 2012 to monitor training in athletes. Athletes who are training too hard – their physiology starts to drain, their performance deteriorates, they get excessive fatigue, they lose strength, and they don’t perform well. Heart rate variability is just a really unique, practical method to monitor the stress response in these athletes. Now Andrew [Hammond] is using heart rate variability to monitor fatigue in truck drivers.
KJR: Was there a moment in time or a particular decision that led you down the career path you’re on today?