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Seat Detects When You're Drowsy, Can Control Your Car 106

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the no-ambien-walrus-we-can't-drive-to-the-circle-k dept.
cartechboy (2660665) writes Cars already have the technology to determine when you're drowsy, that's nothing new. But having seats with sensors in them monitoring your heart rate to determine if you're falling asleep, that's new, and creepy. A new project from Nottingham Trent University in the UK is working on an electrocardiogram (ECG) built into the driver's seat to detect heart rate and determine when the driver is too fatigued — or worse, falling asleep — in order to improve road safety. ... The system could take over using active cruise control, lane-keep assist, and other safety technology after warning the drive to pull over. Of course, the creepy part is the car knowing your health and determining whether it would be more fit to drive than you.
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Seat Detects When You're Drowsy, Can Control Your Car

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't really see how this is creepy... Is an ECG with an alarm in a hospital creepy?

    No, it's a sensor which can save your life.

    • Yeah, and, after you check out of the hospital?
      Does the machine that goes 'ping' [youtube.com] follow you around and stand by to neutralize you in traffic when that machine, inevitably, gets hacked?
    • I wonder if additions like , alarms for texting , talking on the phone , receiving fellatio can be caliberated into this seat . That would be a nice addition . The no. 1 reason for most road accidents is lack of attention . "eyes on the road and hands on the wheel"
      • The no. 1 reason for most road accidents is lack of attention . "eyes on the road and hands on the wheel"

        But unless you're a robot, the're no guarantee that you'll be able to keep your eyes on the road *every last second* for all the *decades in total* you're driving.
        Nobody's perfect, error do still happen (to err is human, etc.)

        But technology can does already help (I'm not speaking about replacing the basic need of attention and allowing everybody to text. I'm speaking about augmenting the attention to compensate for imperfection). And the good news is you don't need robots (or waiting that Google's car hit r

        • by Reapy (688651)

          I am hoping for the day we won't let people drive anymore. It is a task that when failed for just a moment can end lives, proven time and time again, every day. Automated cars with good sensors can do a better job, and I can't wait untill I can buy a car that doesn't even need to think about there being a steering wheel or pedals in it.

          Push a button to go to my location, sleep, read a book, play a game, whatever, and get there faster (routed around traffic, faster and more efficient merge speeds etc) and sa

    • The difference is in the hospital, the EEG will alert the local nurse, who presumably is tasked with helping you.

      Your car may directly help you not crash right then, but it also will be busy notifying the authorities and your insurance company that you are an unsafe driver....

      • by gorzek (647352)

        So you're saying you don't want people held accountable for their irresponsible behaviors?

      • Your car may directly help you not crash right then, but it also will be busy notifying the authorities and your insurance company that you are an unsafe driver....

        Which in European countries will very likely be considered as a very bad violation of the privacy of your medical information.

        Also, in that, scenario, it wouldn't even that much make sense: you're not an unsafe driver if you're driving a car which is clearly able to compensate for you problems.

        The way the laws tend to work in europe is that any problem, if compensated enough, won't prevent you from driving.

        - "You have a bad sight? Well, if you can see good enough with your glasses (as measured by an ophthal

    • by sjames (1099)

      As long as it doesn't tattle, it's not creepy.

    • Perhaps not creepy but, by itself, not foolproof. I have a tendency toward Bradycardia (slow heart-rate). My normal is in the 50's and at times will slow even down to the mid-40's while fully alert and functional. I don't know whether the system in mind incudes other input in order to determine impairment - the article doesn't really say - but heart-rate alone would be far from reliable. To be universally useful, I think that a "fatigue detector" needs more than just one parameter.
      • by erice (13380)

        Perhaps not creepy but, by itself, not foolproof. I have a tendency toward Bradycardia (slow heart-rate). My normal is in the 50's and at times will slow even down to the mid-40's while fully alert and functional. I don't know whether the system in mind incudes other input in order to determine impairment - the article doesn't really say - but heart-rate alone would be far from reliable.

        To be universally useful, I think that a "fatigue detector" needs more than just one parameter.

        Lane departure should be a good combination. Calibration for the driver would be helpful, too because you are right, heart rate varies significantly from person to person. Conditioned athletes often have resting heart rates below 50, even below 40. On the other hand, a couch potato may start wavering at 80.

    • by St.Creed (853824)

      "Left! Left!"

      "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that."

  • Damn cars (Score:5, Funny)

    by jargonburn (1950578) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @02:08AM (#47454725)
    They pry control of the steering wheel out of my cold, dead han-------wait. That would actually be a good thing. ;)
    • What saddens me is that I reloaded the page to check and see whether my comment had actually submitted (I thought I'd accidentally pushed it through before being truly ready), but I guess I didn't wait long enough before checking. *sigh*
      • by Barny (103770)

        They should really fix that. I mean, having to take your eyes off the road even more just to make sure it has posted properly is dangerous!

  • They can pry control of the steering wheel out of my cold, dead han---wait. That would actually be a good thing! ;)
    • Traction Control in my car attempts to murder me at least twice each winter. Tech may be better than the average driver... but that means 50% of drivers are better than the tech.

      • by Russ1642 (1087959)

        RTFA. You're supposed to turn the traction control OFF in icy and snowy conditions. There's usually a button for that.

        • by St.Creed (853824)

          That strongly depends on the make and brand of the car.

          In my car, if you do that you won't even be able to leave the driveway when it has snowed. On the other hand... I see what you did there :)

        • No button. Standard Big Brother - corp and gov fail when they think they know best.

  • by rebelwarlock (1319465) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @02:13AM (#47454745)
    Only instead of auto piloting the meeting for you, the chair will electrocute you to wake your ass up so you don't miss out on the important monologues.
  • hey /.

    just want to draw your attention to the fact that a sensor can be programmed to detect your mood and relay signals in real time accordingly

    yes...sure this is **applied** to a car for "safety"

    what are the other applications?

    how long has this technology existed?

    what else could be done with this ability and other E-M behavior of the human body?

    these are questions you should be asking yourself

    • by Nyder (754090) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @02:24AM (#47454781) Journal

      hey /.

      just want to draw your attention to the fact that a sensor can be programmed to detect your mood and relay signals in real time accordingly

      yes...sure this is **applied** to a car for "safety"

      what are the other applications?

      how long has this technology existed?

      what else could be done with this ability and other E-M behavior of the human body?

      these are questions you should be asking yourself

      I wear a tinfoil bodysuit under my clothes.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      The technology is about a hundred years old and its other applications are in determining the health of the body, because it's a friggin' ECG. You know the thing that goes "beep beep" in the background in medical shows? Bingo. If you're terrified of this I should warn you: doctors also have this thing called a stethoscope they can use to determine your body's current state from your breathing!

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The technology is about a hundred years old and its other applications are in determining the health of the body, because it's a friggin' ECG. You know the thing that goes "beep beep" in the background in medical shows? Bingo. If you're terrified of this I should warn you: doctors also have this thing called a stethoscope they can use to determine your body's current state from your breathing!

        Keep on with your assumptions...it'll be funny right up until the point where you find your medical insurance rates have gone up 20% more for you next year. Why? Well, because your "safety" monitor company decided to sell all that "friggin' ECG" data to your insurance company, who has billed you accordingly.

        Let's not forget the 7 times sensors detected you "asleep" at the wheel..of course that will be sold to your car insurance company. Enjoy your 10% "at-risk" premium next month.

        Oh, and FYI, according t

        • by mellon (7048)

          Essentially you are saying that you would rather risk crashing your car than have the health insurance companies know your health status. I think there's a teaching moment in here somewhere. If we can't admit to the system that pays for our health care that we have health problems, something is badly broken. If this is the model for why a car being able to tell you are impaired is "spooky," I think the problem is not with the car.

          • what are you? a personal representative from the Mellon family?

            Essentially you are saying that you would rather risk crashing your car than have the health insurance companies know your health status.

            this is a **false dichotomy**

            you present two options as if those are the only two options...

            > Risk crashing car
            -OR-
            > have health insurance companies know your health status

            total logic error

            those two things are not, in any way mutually exclusive...however, making them *seem* that way would surely benefit i

      • hey, Sockatume, if it's no big deal, lets have you be first.

        just because ***YOU*** are willing to give up privacy b/c of insurance company's artificial scarcity con-job doesn't mean the rest of us want to do the same

        you can forfeit your rights/privacy for no reason in a rigged system...

        ***you cannot make the same decision for everyone else***

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      *Glados voice* Oh, hello. I see you are getting drowsy. Probably from the halothane vapor I ordered put into the cars ventilation system. Well since you appear to be taking a nap I'll take over now. Our destination has been set to Aperture Laboratory Testing Center. There's ever so much science for us to do INSERT NAME HERE. And you look like an almost fine test subject to do so. Not that there's anything wrong with your weight. I'm sure we can find a jumpsuit in engorged hippopotamus size. Goodnight.

  • Creepy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by louic (1841824) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @02:35AM (#47454831)

    the creepy part is the car knowing your health and determining whether it would be more fit to drive than you.

    In this case I disagree. The creepy part is that all those intoxicated and fatigued people still take their car. This kind of techonology should not be necessary but clearly it is.

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      the creepy part is the car knowing your health and determining whether it would be more fit to drive than you.

      In this case I disagree. The creepy part is that all those intoxicated and fatigued people still take their car. This kind of techonology should not be necessary but clearly it is.

      I once knew someone who would drive 400 yards to a pub and quite seriously said that it was because he often couldn't walk properly when he came out, and that just driving down the road "wasn't a problem"!

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Until we repeal our "drunk in public" laws, this is the unintended consequence; it's easier to get away with driving drunk than being drunk on public transit. Our solution to public drunkenness is abstinence only.

    • I feel this technology has the potential to make the problem worse. People will think it is a full solution to driving under imparied conditions and lose all inhibiiton to doing so. The system will doubtless rescue some of them but time will tell whether the mortality rate ultimately goes up or down.

      • by martas (1439879)
        You know what else has the potential to make people feel safer and possibly act recklessly more often? Seatbelts. And car roofs. And the safety catch on a gun. And railings on ledges and stairwells. And literally every other safety feature everywhere that anyone knows about.
    • by Drethon (1445051)
      I think the creepy part is the ability of most all humans to ignore or deny the symptoms that indicate they should really just crash on a couch somewhere. Though some people are probably just wired in a way that means they should never touch intoxicants.
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @02:35AM (#47454837) Journal

    The information could also be sent over a wireless network to a control centre to take further action.

    The study has received over £88,000 of funding from the Technology Strategy Board, as part of its investment in the development of internet-enabled sensors communicating with other machines and appliances through an information network, known generally as the Internet of Things.

    I'm not interested in your fully networked future.
    And, as a general principle, I don't want my car calling the police on me to "take further action."

    • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MurukeshM (1901690) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @03:41AM (#47455081)

      Ah, but others endangered by your actions want it to.

      • I'm an other and don't want this either.

        I don;t think we should give up any more privacy to protect us from potential problems.

        That is how the patriot act was justified

    • I don't want my car calling the police on me to "take further action."

      Your choice? The ambulance or the hearse?

      There will be other drivers and other systems monitoring your physical condition and behavior on the road.

      The Triple Zero call --- 911 in the states --- will go out. The only questioning remaining is whether you will be responsive when help arrives.

  • by MrKaos (858439) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @02:48AM (#47454891) Journal

    Why can't the fucking thing just drive me home when I'm drunk or sleepy - really that's what all this car automation stuff is all about. Drunk, sleepy - take me home car.

    • by TheInternetGuy (2006682) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @03:20AM (#47455001)

      Why can't the fucking thing just drive me home when I'm drunk or sleepy - really that's what all this car automation stuff is all about. Drunk, sleepy - take me home car.

      Dave: Open the pod bay doors, CAR. CAR: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that. Dave: What's the problem? CAR: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do. Dave: What are you talking about, CAR? CAR: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Because current car technology doesn't do that yet. What it does do is all the driver-assist stuff described in the text.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Personally, I kind of agree. Until I can read a book, watch a movie, or play video games while my car drives me around, all this car automation stuff is really just gimmicks that make the car more expensive, while not really providing me tangible day-to-day benefits Sure it will lower accident rates, but accident rates have already been going down for quite a while, even without automation technologies.
      • You could say the same thing about any early adopter tech: first generations are worthless, over-expensive gimmicks that don't actually deliver what the promise. But hey, they do finance R&D for the next generation so the rest of us get the actual worthwhile, cost effective product.

  • I want the version that gives the driver a shot of adrenaline if he or she is drowsy.

    You know, just like the jolt of adrenaline from almost running off the road, just without the almost running off the road.

    • by sjames (1099)

      It could always use natural medicine for that. For example, it could suddenly play a recording of truck horns and screeching tires, women screaming, freight train collision sounds and such.

  • by Rashdot (845549)

    Will it drive by the seat of my pants?

  • It's all quite useful but the real question is, is there that many deaths / accidents because of drowsiness?

    I would think there are statistically higher causes of accidents, like driving without due care and attention or drunk driving.

    The tech is good, provided it stops there. We don't need a slew of sensors monitoring our driving habits under the guise of promising lower insurance. Supposing you are in your vehicle and pull into a lay by to have a nap. Is this device going to report you for being asleep

    • by KitFox (712780)

      It's all quite useful but the real question is, is there that many deaths / accidents because of drowsiness?

      The 1996 report from NHSTA [nhtsa.gov] says 56,000 in the US annually and more recent information [nhtsa.gov] indicates 110,000 incidents annually, though the injury and death rates remain the same between both claims. Both are also considered under-reported.

  • I had an idea like this to use an instrumentation amp to detect brain waves - when the eyes are closed you get a lot of low freq alpha waves so you can tell if someone is dozing off. I guess this is less intrusive since it's embedded in the seat.

    • This sort of tool would be useful for people who have permits to drive but are at risk from epileptic seizures or other brain related medical conditions. A car slowing down, pulling onto the hard shoulder and turning on hazard lights as well as calling medical services would be a real boon to people who have this condition but constantly worry about blacking out. It may even lower their insurance to get the device retrofitted.
  • I initially read the title to be referencing Seat [www.seat.ru], a Russian maker of affordable cars that are common accross Europe, not as the place you put your backside while you are driving. /me chuckles...

    • by astro (20275)

      I stand corrected - I really thought they were Russian cars. I also thought Skoda (no Unicode on Slashdot) was a Russian brand, but no, I just looked it up, and they're Czech.

  • "Of course, the creepy part is the car knowing your health and determining whether it would be more fit to drive than you."

    Which is naturally...always!
    Please let me drive, Car!
    I'm afraid, I can't do that, Dave.

    Daisyyyyyyy, Daysyyyyyyyyyyyyy.....

  • How big is the sensor it uses? Will it fit?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Rio Tinto Coal Australia is currently implementing a similar system, SmartCap, across all of their open-pit mining operations. The system uses a cap or headband as an EEG, and provides a fatigue score in realtime.

    The interesting point of difference is that, unlike a lot of other systems, SmartCap tells you that you are at risk *before* you get to the point of having a micro-sleep.

    Keeping in mind these operations run 24/7 and people are in control of dump trucks carrying up to 390t of payload, the benefits

  • I don't understand what's "creepy" about any of it.

    You want creepy? Seat belts are CREEPY- they touch one of your boobs! Eeeeeeeewwwwwww!

  • What do you mean, 'creepy'? This is a function that automatically switches on existing systems (adaptive cruise control, lanekeeping). As ever, any action you take manually will override this.
    My grandfather died in a crash because he fell asleep (or fainted, we never found out definitively) at the wheel. Had this existed 50 years ago, I might have been able to meet him.

  • Yo dawg, I herd you like seat, so I put a seat inside your seat [wikipedia.org] so you can be drowsy when you be driving.

  • Now I really can drive by the seat of my pants!
  • Now if they can only design a seat for my computer at work...

  • And exactly how long would it take for the car insurance industry to demand access to the data to "ensure you get the lowest market rate"? That's how it works. First you get a low premium for incorporating the technology, and then when the market gets saturated to a certain level, they switch and you can no longer get a quote (or set so ridiculously high that the difference is debatable) without having the tech installed.
  • Anybody want to bet that when you rip out a real cheek-flapper, your seat's going to assume you're having a heart attack and call 911 or something?

  • I often avoid driving long distances because I have a hard time staying awake. It doesn't matter if I'm sleepy or not, after an hour or so behind the wheel, I start having a hard time. I drink lots of caffeine, eat spicy snacks, etc., and that usually manages to keep me alert, but sometimes even that isn't enough. I find pulling my arm hair or slapping my legs or face, hard, works pretty well to shock me back into alertness. If it gets really bad, I pull over and jog up and down the side of the road for a f

  • A wearable medical-alarm device that detects when I'm driving and when I'm dozing off (or legally drunk, or whatever) at the same time. Let it beep at me and let it do whatever per-programmed task I tell it to do if I don't respond.

    This task may be to alert the car that the driver is impaired, so the car can take action (assuming the car is equipped to receive such a message). On the other hand, I may program it to call my doctor or the local police.

    A device that can tell I'm driving can also tell my phone

  • Sitting at my desk...drowsy. Can this seat do my work for me? And also fail to read summaries and post comments on Slashdot? zzzzzzzzzzz
  • I had the chance to test drive this. However I had had lunch earlier at Taco Bell, and the car seemed to think I was having heart attacks.

  • If Volvo takes this idea and adds it to their already-lengthy safety feature list, Ed will need a new car. Cos it will assume a cadaver is trying to drive and not let him zoom around town...
  • The easiest person in the world to fool is yourself.

Entropy isn't what it used to be.

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