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Three car technologies that know when you’re too sleepy to drive

Driverless cars like the one above, are still quite a ways off into the future, but it’s easy to understand why robots might be safer drivers than people. We do dumb things like texting while driving, driving drunk and even falling asleep behind the wheel. So it’s interesting to think about how connected cars and the quantified self might meet in ways that help keep bad behaviors off the roads.

One way to do this is to put an ECG sensor in the seat of a car, so it can can measure a driver’s heart rate to detect how alert he or she is. Researchers at the Nottingham Trent University in the U.K., backed by the Technology Strategy Board, aim to figure out how to parse the data and separate the useful bits from the noise. They also want to determine the best way to integrate sensors into the fabric of a car’s seat. If the seat detects a sleepy driver, it would alert him or her, or possibly take control of the vehicle if the person doesn’t respond. It’s like a fancier lane-drift detection system.

Another project I saw this week (hat tip GizMag), called HARKEN (heart and respiration in-car embedded nonintrusive sensors) is a European effort to implant sensors that monitor respiration and heart rate into a car’s seat and seatbelt. The sensors detect when a driver falls asleep behind the wheel. The two-year project ended in June with a working prototype and will be tested on closed roads soon.

Finally, there’s Nissan’s concept project, Nismo. It includes a watch that tracks a driver’s biometrics and integrates with the car to share information about heart rate and road conditions. The concept comes from Nissan’s racing and high-performance division, so this is less about tracking when the driver is falling asleep and more about keeping a race car driver at the peak of performance. However, the idea of such integrations might one day be available to the average consumer via in-car devices like Automatic or Zubie, connected to a fitness tracker such as the Withings Pulse or Jawbone.

In fact, with Automatic and Jawbone (and Withings) channels on IFTTT, maybe there’s a jerry-rigged solution to be made sooner rather than later. All we need are the right triggers.

3 Responses to “Three car technologies that know when you’re too sleepy to drive”

  1. Ideally the concept is to rmveoe the mess that has been created with factional reserve banking. Right now so much power is in the hands of the central banks. This power gives them the ability to control the amount of currency that is in circulation. In essence money is created out of thin air with no weight to it like the gold standard created. Money is built on trust in the value of that currency, which is very scary. You can even see in recent times how this type of system has created massive problems and will only get worse as time goes on. The only way I personally feel that currency can be fixed since we left the gold standard is to create a new currency with a relative value unit assigned to it. The relative value can be tied to something tangible. To supply a certain good or service it requires certain resources. Those resources being natural, human and others. For example it takes a specific amount of resources to produce a car. Machines, equipment, people working on it, natural resources like metal, plastics and time. These factors can be used to produce a RV for that car. Unfortunately I think there is so much money in circulation, that it would be near impossible to go back to the gold standard as there may not be enough gold available in circulation to match out the currency to. Why not create a balance of the commons of ALL available tangible resources and not just gold?The concepts I like of BitCoin are the fact that there is no central authority for currency. What you produce is what you own. You actually own that currency that you have produced using your resources and it has value based on the fact that others had to go through the same create that currency as you did. The idea of using CPU cycles is very geeky and not sustainable. The idea though that you have this resource and by using that resource you are producing something that holds value amongst those doing the same type of work place the value and trust in that currency. So when you go to work based on your education, work experience, skills, time spend doing your job, the actual work being done and even the value your employer feels you are worth to them can all be used as factors. That value of currency that you produce has no value that is set by factional reserve banking and the amount of currency in circulation. It is based on a true tangible asset like the gold standard used to be.Just my two cents.