Until that fateful day when robots can drive our cars (or better yet, cars drive themselves), falling asleep at the wheel will for some be an unavoidable hazard of driving. If your vibrating bracelet or Mercedes fail to prevent you from sawing logs, then you might want to try these two new devices.
Ahhh, it is the simple pleasures in life that bring us joy. We don’t know which is better, the drawings on Japanese advertisements, or Google’s translation of their web pages. Take our word for it, the drowse prevention alarm is a bluetooth headset wannabe that screams “tweet tweet” when your head tilts too far downward. Surely an unexpected hi-pitched “tweet tweet” every time you look at the radio wouldn’t get annoying . . .
Researchers at Tokyo’s Oita University stepped it up a notch and created a high-tech pulse & respiration monitoring driver seat to predict nap time.
Researchers from the University of Tokyo, Oita University, the Shimane Institute of Health Science and Delta Tooling, an industrial equipment manufacturer, have developed a prototype smart car seat capable of detecting when its occupant is on the verge of falling asleep. The seat was unveiled at a symposium held at the University of Tokyo on February 5.
The researchers began by studying the physiological signs of 100 sleepy subjects, focusing particularly on the changes in pulse and respiration that occur 10 minutes before falling asleep. They then developed a system of sensors that could both detect these changes and be embedded in the seat.
The seat is equipped with a pair of pulse-monitoring pressure sensors in the seat-back and a set of respiration-monitoring sensors underneath. The researchers successfully tested the system in a variety of simulated and actual driving conditions, and they claim it works effectively even when the driver is bundled in layers of clothing.
Previous drowsiness prediction systems that rely on physiological data require the subject to attach electrodes or other hardware to his or her body. And since these systems tend to be bulky, they have not seen widespread use in automobiles. However, unlike previous systems, this newly developed smart car seat does not require the driver to wear any special hardware — it can detect drowsiness as long as the driver remains in the seat.
Though the seat can sense when the driver is sleepy, it is not yet equipped to respond. The next step will be to outfit the seat with an alarm function that is automatically activated when its occupant becomes drowsy. The researchers hope to make the smart seat commercially available in 5 years.
We can see it now, the next time you buy a car the salesmen will tempt you to purchase various upgrades like heated seats and ECG monitoring. If you buy the undercoating, maybe he’ll throw in the cardiac monitoring software that links directly to your doctor’s office for free.
Read more here . . .
(hat tip: Ubergizmo)