At the University of Southern California’s Body Computing Conference, USC researchers showcased Nigel, a mini-Cooper equipped with a whopping 230 sensors that monitor the health of both the car and driver. It’s the result of a collaboration between BMW and the world-famous USC School of Cinematic Arts that dates back to 2010.
You might ask why is a film school involved in a smart car? According to researchers, the goal was not to merely display lists of statistics and data about a vehicle and its user; researchers aimed to create a car with character and personality that uses “storytelling” to motivate the driver to change his or her health habits, as well as driving habits. A car with a personality undoubtedly would be a much more interesting “road companion” as well (and perhaps someday help the Hoff fight crime?).
Nigel’s technology includes MEMS-enabled devices and ultrasound-enabled sensors, which would allow a user to instantly measure vital statistics by placing his or her hands on the steering wheel. Heart rate, for example, can be measured to see a user’s heart rate changes throughout a drive home. There are even ideas to incorporate pollution sensors and oxygen content sensors to tell drivers if their drive through the smoggy Los Angeles streets could affect their health.
Article from Fast Company: Your Next Doctor Might Be Your Car
More info from USC: Car tracks drivers’ vital signs