Researchers from the Biomechanics Institute (IBV) in Valencia, Spain, have developed a seatbelt that constantly monitors drivers' cardiac and respiratory rates. It's not just another health tracker: the idea is to make sure the driver is alert, and to signal him if his vitals dip into the drowsy zone.
Increasingly automated cars require less concentration on the part of drivers who are more at risk than ever of falling asleep at the wheel due to their reduced role.
The system developed in Spain, called the Harken
device, incorporates sensors that are capable of compensating for the vibrations of the car and movements of the driver while taking vital signs.
Sensors are embedded in the seat cover in addition to the seat belt and they also have the ability to filter noise in order to get the best possible readings for accurate somnolence detection.
Because the sensors are embedded, they are invisible to the driver, according to the product description on the company's website.
The idea is similar to the Ford Biometric Seat
, introduced as a prototype last year, which takes vitals and monitors ambient temperature in the interest of keeping the driver comfortable and alert.