Instead of finding ways to help reduce stress, long hours at work and other contributing factors to our increasing levels of fatigue, researchers have just accepted the fact that we're all perpetually tired, and are instead focusing their efforts on ensuring we don't fall asleep at the wheel. And the latest innovation for preventing that is heart monitoring car seats that have a pretty good idea of when drivers are getting drowsy.
The sensors can detect a driver's ECG — or electrocardiogram — through their clothing, even multiple layers of a suit, but are invisible since they're stitched and integrated into the car seat's fabric. And while most automotive fatigue-sensing systems simply alert the driver or attempt to wake them up in some way, the researchers at Nottingham Trent University in the UK envision them being used to activate a car's cruise control systems and lane-keeping functionality to prevent an accident should they drift off.
In other words, the research is hoping that autonomous cars are the norm by the time the system is perfected, so that a driver is just free to drift off whenever they want, with the car automatically taking over for them. We'd just be happy with a little Barry Manilow automatically popping up on the stereo whenever we're stuck in traffic and our heart rate starts to soar. [Innovation In Textiles via Motor Authority]