Sensor-Powered Seatbelt Could Save the Lives of Sleepy DriversWearable tech has done a lot to foster the rise of the “quantified self” space, but surprisingly few of these devices focus on enhancing our safety.
Now a new prototype system looks to harness the kind of heartbeat and respiration monitoring features present in some wearables to alert drivers as to when they are dozing off behind the wheel.
Developed by the Biomechanics Institute (IBV) in Valencia, Spain, the Heart and Respiration In-Car Embedded Non-Intrusive Sensors (Harken) system works by measuring the heart rate (via seatbelt sensors) and respiratory pace (via seat cover sensors) of the driver. 1
When the sensor data indicates the person is falling asleep, the developers envision an alarm going off to wake the driver before control of the vehicle is lost.
Funded by a research branch of the European Union, Harken is comprised of a sensor-equipped seat cover and seatbelt, along with a hidden signal processing unit, which processes the signal data in real-time.
“The variation in heart and respiratory rate are good indicators of the state of the driver as they are related to fatigue,” said Jose Solaz, IBV’s director of innovation markets in automobile and mass transportation, in a statement. “So
when people go into a state of fatigue or drowsiness, modifications appear in their breathing and heart rate; Harken can monitor those variables and therefore warn the driver before the onset of symptoms of fatigue.”
Of course, none of this will be necessary once self-driving cars become the standard but, based on the current pace of development, our robot chauffeurs may still be a long way off. So, in the meantime, a safety system like Harken could end up saving lives.
Now that successful closed track testing has been completed, the research team plans on testing the system in real world traffic conditions soon.
After that, the aim is to get Harken into the commercial market in the near future, however, no firm launch date has been set.
Posted by : Gizmeon