Attention! This car is powered by human brainwaves

Pay Attention

The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) of Western Australia has introduced the worlds first Attention powered car. Did you pay attention to the announcement?

Attention powered car
Image credit: RAC

How it works

Using brainwaves, the driver wears a headset while driving. The headset measures brain activity in real-time and monitors if the driver is focused by measuring the following criteria; engagement, excitement, fatigue, head movement rate and distraction. If the driver loses focus due to say, a sudden text message on their mobile phone and tries to take a sneak peek,  the device will detect that the driver has lost focus, and ‘reacts’ by slowing down the vehicle. As discussed earlier,  hands free technology doesn’t help minimize risk, so going along this particular route may be a step in the right direction.

The Headset. Image Credit: CNET

The Car slows down if at least one of these 3 things happen:

1. You switch tasks. i.e. your attention goes from the road to the radio.2. Your neural activity dips, or your blink and eye scan rate slows significantly i.e. you’re zoning out or fatigued.

3. The in-built Gyroscope detects that you’ve significantly turned your head away from the road.

International appeal?

Just like Sri Lanka, road safety is an issue around the world, with inattentive driving causing upto 12% of all motor accidents in Western Australia. Granted, the vehicle doesn’t look to be something which average motorists would buy-its highly unlikely that motorists would be inclined to wear a headset every time they go behind the wheel. Its a great tool to fight driver distraction but the results of these findings could be implemented in another way, say by creating an alarm which alerts motorists that they aren’t paying attention.

We are very excited about this technology. However, we want your thoughts. Tell us what you think in the comments!

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.


Find out More: Inattention, For The Better. [Accessed 13th November 2014].

Find out More: RAC’s Attention Powered Car, For The Better. [Accessed 13th November 2014].

Health Benefits of Zumba


Zumba is a new fitness craze which seems to be increasing in popularity in Sri Lanka, as individuals flock to try out this new fitness craze. Here’s a review of what Zumba is and the benefits offered by this particular workout.

What is Zumba?

Image Credit: Zumba website

Zumba is a dance/fitness program which involves participants combining dancing and aerobic elements into their workout.  These classes are normally conducted with Latin American music, and also involves interval and resistance training. These classes offer a variety of benefits which we have listed below:

Physical Benefits

  • Fat burning: An independent study reported that the average Zumba workout burned a commendable 370 calories. Understandably, how much fat you burn depends on your current fitness level and how much you are “into” it.
  • Total body workout: With different workouts being created for different parts of the body, Zumba can deliver what some exercise programs lack-a total workout for the entire body. The dancing steps ensure that it targets key muscles in your back and your core. This gives participants an opportunity to tone their overall physique without having to lift weights, ensuring that become stronger and more flexible.
  • Improves your cardiovascular system: Unsurprisingly, Zumba dancing gives participants a thorough cardio workout, as the songs themselves provide  effective interval training, ensuring that the participants get the maximum out of their dance routine.
Tone Zumba
Image Credit: Zumba website

Mental Benefits

  • Stress reliever: Lets face it, sometimes you just need to let it go. Zumba allows you the freedom to do that without others judging you. During exercise, your body releases endorphins, aka the ‘happy hormone’ which makes you feel good. The more you move, the better you feel and the more fun you have. This promotes an overall ‘feel good effect’ and helps alleviate stress.
  • Active Mind: Sometimes, a workout can become tedious: going running, lifting weights can make your exercise regimen seem tedious and boring. Learning new dance steps keeps your mind fresh and alert  to new ideas. Furthermore, learning dance steps assists in improved coordination.
  • Improved focus & concentration: Learning new dance steps is an excellent way to stay mentally alert. As you focus on doing the proper dance movements to the right rhythm, it helps you to increase your focus and concentration for a longer period of time. The effects of improved focus don’t stop after the workout, but stays on for a few hours afterwards as well.
zumba people dancing
Image Credit: Livestrong

 Social Benefits

  • Anyone can join: Serious injuries aside, people of all ages and fitness levels can take part. Even if you have two left feet, all you need is a few good minutes to get into the groove.
  • Social workout: if you are working out with your friends, the nature of the workout is such fun that it doesn’t feel like a workout. Doing this alone? Not to worry, expect to make new friends since you’ll one of the many individuals having a good time!

If you were inspired by this article to try out Zumba, congratulations! We’d suggest that you check out this article to see what you should expect at your first Zumba class.

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.

How does Insurance work?

Spreading the risk

As we have identified earlier, its important to have insurance. Insurance companies exist because of  the many risks in the world. We are here to help individuals like you to manage risk by ensuring that if the unexpected happens, you will be able to manage the financial burden. Insurance firms pool together the risk together of many individuals, and this helps to benefit society as a whole.

Dont put your eggs in one basket: the core of insurance
Image Credit: gettyimages

An example

For example, if 100,000 Sri Lankan’s each pay Rs 12,000 annually for automobile insurance, the insurance firm will receive Rs 1.2 billion. During the course of 2014, if 10,000 individuals suffer a loss amounting to Rs50,000 each the firm would have to pay Rs 500 million in claims, leaving the rest for future claims. Sure, if the automobile isnt yours, that money is gone. However, it is a better option to enlist a large number of people to pool together risk in order to pay for the losses of a small group, because the financial burden of Rs50000 is usually too much for one individual to manage on their own.

Different premiums

However, all motorists don’t pay the same premium. With sufficient statistical information (collected over time), insurance firms can calculate the losses the company is likely to incur, and subsequently charge each driver a different premium depending on how likely they are to be involved in a motor accident. As a result, some drivers who are deemed ‘high risk-worthy’, (ie: multiple speeding fines and accidents) are more likely to pay a higher premium than those who travel carefully and play it safe.

Right Insurance = Financial Security

Motor insurance is something which needs to be handled with care, just like you would do to your precious vehicle. If you do it right, it becomes a useful tool to maintain the financial security you deserve. If you’d like to get a motor insurance quote, send us a SMS, or simply call HNB General Insurance’s 24 hour hotline on 0114-883-883.

Note: If you are more interested in Life Insurance, call HNB Assurance on 0114-384-384 instead.

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.

INFOGRAPHIC: Diabetes in a Nutshell

With World Diabetes day coming up (14th November), we felt that it would be a good idea to identify the primary risk factors which can cause diabetes, the main warning signs and ways to reduce your risk. Please share this infographic with those you know!

Diabetes in a nutshell
Diabetes in a nutshell

Any more tips we have missed? Tell  us in the comments section and have a healthy week!

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.

Opening up about Prostate Cancer in Sri Lanka

The month of ”Movember” is now  upon us, as men around the world grow their ‘staches for a month. They do this to raise awareness and funding for prostrate cancer and mental health- serious issues which affect men. Keeping in mind that we have written about mental health in the past, it made sense to follow up with a discussion about prostate cancer in Sri Lanka and how it affects life insurance applications.

Asian men don’t report Prostate Cancer
Aloysius, C reports that prostate cancer is where abnormal cells grow excessively in the prostrate gland, and spread to the rest of the body. This is the most common type of cancer faced by men all over the world. Some studies suggest that Asian men have the lowest reported levels when compared to other races. However, when reported, they are more likely to have more advanced stages of prostate cancer when compared to their counterparts.
Prostate cancer
Image Credit: Pinterest

Similar patterns among Sri Lankan men and mental health

Aside from Prostate cancer, mental health issues are very common to Sri Lanka. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that  20% of Sri Lankans suffer from a mental illness, and only one in five of those receive the necessary treatment. There are numerous reasons cited for this; too few doctors treat too many patients (over 200 patients visit centres daily, and less than 70 qualified personnel cater to them) and treatment centres are only available in cities. The social stigma associated with having a mental illness is another reason why men are reluctant to get treatment. This appears to support the findings above, where men are reluctant to seek treatment until the disease, (prostate cancer or mental illness), has gotten worse.

How Prostate Cancer affects my Life Insurance Application

 These are factors which we take into consideration*
  • Date when cancer was diagnosed
  • Stage of prostate cancer
  • Treatment received
  • Stage of treatment-ongoing or completed
  • Recurrences and complications (if any)
  • Whether the cancer has spread to other areas of the body


If you have prostate cancer (or know someone who does), and need life insurance, call us on 0114-384-384. As an insurance firm, we are committed to helping you by protecting you and your loved ones.

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.

* This is not an exhaustive list. Terms and conditions apply. Please check your individual policy for further information