Citizen’s new smartwatch uses Nasa tech to boost your power naps

The CZ smartwatch can recommend the best time to take a power nap  (Citizen)
The CZ smartwatch can recommend the best time to take a power nap (Citizen)

With sleep tracking de rigueur on the best smartwatches, Citizen is focusing on power naps to help its latest timepiece stand out.

The watchmaker’s CZ smartwatch harnesses tech used by Nasa to help astronauts get some shut-eye in space, where zero-gravity and constantly recurring sunrises can play havoc with the body’s internal clock.

Along with measuring your daily sleep patterns and heart rate, the watch asks you to take an alertness test originally developed by Nasa, known as the Psychomotor Vigilance Task Test (PVT+). Using these readings it can then recommend personal “power fixes” – such as the best time to take a nap – to help improve alertness and keep fatigue at bay.

Since the test was created in the 1980s Nasa has whittled down the time it takes to complete the PVT+ from 10 minutes to three minutes.

The test requires participants to press a button as soon as they spot a light on a screen. The light comes on repeatedly at random intervals of a few seconds until enough responses are acquired to establish – to the millisecond the speed of the person’s visual reaction times, according to Nasa. The results can help Nasa determine the alertness and vigilance of its recruits.

Citizen’s new app provides a “gamified” version of Nasa’s mental alertness test (Citizen)
Citizen’s new app provides a “gamified” version of Nasa’s mental alertness test (Citizen)

Over time, the test has also been embraced by the US Navy, commercial airlines and haulage companies.

To make sense of its data, the CZ smartwatch relies on a neural network originally built within the IBM Watson programme, a powerful artificial intelligence tool that once beat quiz nerds on popular US game show Jeopardy. As time goes by, the watch will continue personalising its feedback to make its power fixes more effective, based on the wearer’s metrics. Beneath all the extra features is the same Android operating system, known as Wear OS, which powers smartwatches from Google and Samsung.

Citizen’s new YouQ software will be available on the second generation of CZ smartwatches, which arrive in the UK and US in March. Styles include a sport model, available with silicone, leather, and stainless-steel straps and a casual model in mesh bracelet, stainless-steel links, and silicone straps. Prices have not yet been announced.