Excerpts from staugistine.com:

Blake Richardson heard plenty of stories from his father about his work at the Fernandina Beach Fire Department. Over the last 15 years of his dad’s career, two of the common themes that always came up were the stress of the job and the lack of sleep. 

He always wanted to come up with a way that would make his dad’s job easier, and healthier. He hopes EaseAwake, a device he came up with in high school that is now gaining attention around the state, will do exactly that.

The goal of EaseAwake, a wearable wristband device similar to a FitBit, is to help sleeping firefighters wake slowly when a call to service comes in. It’s typical for firefighters working long shifts to be jolted awake by loud alarms that can quickly elevate heart rates. But firefighters wearing the EaseAwake will feel a vibration five seconds before the station alarm goes off allowing them to slowly wake up from a deep sleep.

Richardson, 21, along with classmates in his entrepreneurship course at Flagler College, pitched the idea to a panel of judges in a “Shark Tank” style presentation during Business Week at the school in March. The idea won first place. Richardson also placed in the top five at a statewide entrepreneurship competition at the University of South Florida in April. He was one of 20 fellows selected for the program and received a prize of $5,000 for placing in the top five.

There is still plenty of work to be done. He’s currently looking for someone to produce a 3D sketch of the device and create a prototype. Once he does that, he will then begin to test it on firefighters and collect data he hopes will show the device’s benefits. If all goes well, he will look to trademark and patent for the name and idea as soon as this summer.

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