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Monitoring drivers' health while on the road

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Monitoring drivers' health while on the road

Sensors located in the steering wheel of vehicles can monitor drivers’ health problems. In future cars may be designed to respond to drivers’ health problems.

Service body soon! Sensors located in the steering wheel of vehicles could soon be detecting drivers’ health problems.

Researchers at the BMW Group and the Tu Muenchen Chair of Micro Technology and Medical Device Technology (MiMed) have developed a new system that monitors drivers’ vital signs. Sensors in the steering wheel can read a driver’s heart rate, skin conductance, and oxygen saturation in the blood.

The collected health data is then radioed to a microcontroller which displays the results on the vehicle information system display.

Seniors’ health check
Initial tests were conducted with the Munich Senior Citizens Advisory Council. More than 50 percent of the seniors who tried out the device conducted repeated health checks.

More than just a health monitor, the creators of this new system hope to eventually develop the technology to allow a car to automatically respond to its driver’s health problems. For instance, the car could turn down the volume on the radio, turn on the hazard lights, reduce the vehicle speed, or activate automatic braking.

If only the system could talk, it would be like having your very own KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand), the talking vehicle made famous in David Hasselhoff’s  1980s TV show,  Knight Rider. Or would that be Dr. KITT?

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