Getting sleepy behind the wheel? Your seat will tell (ES)

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /]Finally something useful in automotive biometrics! Researchers from Spain’s Instituto de Biomecánica de Valencia (IBV) have integrated sensors into a car seat and seat belt to continuously track the driver’s heart beat and respiration, with the aim of warning a drowsy driver. Data is gathered through a signal-processing unit (SPU) in real time, then sent to a computer program which through modeling patterns of fatigue in these two metrics, determines whether the driver is drowsy. It’s in working prototype save the proactive warning part, which does present a design challenge. (An electric shock? A VC10 at takeoff? Jimi Hendrix or Queen at 80 dB?) It’s appropriately dubbed The Harken Project. A potential life-saver far more useful than Ford SYNC/IMS’s Allergy AlertPress release. Medgadget  Hat tip to reader David Albert MD @DrDave01 via Twitter (!)