According to the folks over at TechOn, Toyota has developed a fascinating monitoring system which keeps track of the pulse and ECG of the driver using sensors in the steering wheel, notifying them when their vital signs begin to show abnormalities.
A large number of accidents occur when the driver experiences a heart attack or some other sudden incapacitating health emergency. This system could potentially give the driver some extra time to either stop or get himself the hospital when the telltale signs occur. According to Toyota, such early warning signals can occur as much as two hours before their physical condition changes.
Developed by Toyota, Densu and Nippon Medical School, this is a very elegant solution that uses electrodes and optical sensors in the steering wheel to monitor changes. And since drivers always have their hands in contact with the wheel (hopefully!) it makes perfect sense to measure them in this way. In the future we could see the system integrated with in-car navigation systems, possibly helping to guide the person to a hospital before an emergency occurs, or it could also be connected with the emergency braking system.
Just a few days ago we wrote about a solution from Fujitsu which measures a person’s pulse using only a smart phone, tablet, or PC camera. It’s certainly encouraging to see such promising solutions in the area of health tech, which hopefully can revolutionize the way that we monitor our bodies vital signs.