Car Seat Prototype Knows When You Are Sleepy

A prototype "smart car seat" that can tell when you are starting to fall asleep has been developed by researchers from Researchers from the University of Tokyo, Oita University, the Shimane Institute of Health Science and Delta Tooling in Japan.


(Smart car seat)

Based upon data collected from 100 sleepy volunteers, the seat contains pressure sensors in the seat base and seat back monitoring pulse and respiration. The system works even when the driver is wearing bulky clothing.

The next step is to design a system that will respond to its own findings by activating a loud alarm. The researchers hope to make the seat available within five years.

The real question for me is this - will this seat be obsolete when it is commercially available? Cars are getting smarter and smarter; see the previous stories on Honda Accord ADAS and the DARPA Urban Challenge For Autonomous Vehicles.

If vehicles that can handle themselves become available soon enough, a "smart car" will just let you sleep, like the Heinlein Camden Speedster:

The car waited for a break in the traffic, then dived into the high-speed stream and hurried north. Mary settled back for a nap.

When its setting was about to run out, the car beeped for instructions; Mary woke up and glanced out...
(Read more about the self-steering Camden Speedster)

Update 05-Mar-2017: Check out this alcohol-sensing system from The Game Players of Titan by Philip K. Dick. End update.

Update 05-Nov-2017: Harry Harrison warned about this; see the vehicle sleep sensor from The Velvet Glove (1956). End update.

Story from Smart car seat detects drowsy drivers.

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