By David Ponce
Seems there’s a theme today, what with this being the second article dedicated to fighting drowsiness at the wheel. This time though, we’re talking high-tech. Researchers from the University of Tokyo (among others) have developed a system of sensors that is meant to be embedded right into a car seat; a pair of pulse-monitoring pressure sensors in the seat-back and a set of respiration-monitoring sensors underneath. The data these generate is then analyzed by an on-board computer, which looks for changes in pulse and respiration that occur 10 minutes before falling asleep. The device is still a prototype, and a response mechanism has not yet been developed; we think that switching the car radio to a loud rendition by Reba McEntire should do the trick.
The researchers arrived at this model by studying 100 sleepy subjects, and they claim that the device will work even through layers of clothing. They hope to have working models incorporated into automobiles within 5 years.