A seat that can detect when you are about to fall asleep has been created by researchers from the University of Tokyo. The seat was unveiled at a symposium held at the University of Tokyo in February.
The researchers began their study by looking at the physiological signs of 100 sleepy individuals, focusing on the changes in pulse and respiration that occur 10 minutes before falling asleep. They then developed a system of sensors that could both detect these changes and be embedded in the seat.
So how does it really work? The seat is equipped with a pair of pulse-monitoring pressure sensors in the seat-back and a set of respiration-monitoring sensors underneath. Pretty much the idea is that the closer you get to falling asleep the slower your pulse gets and hence the system can detect these changes.
The most important thing about this research is the practicality of the system, the researchers successfully tested the system in a variety of simulated and actual driving conditions, and they claim it works effectively even when the driver is bundled in layers of clothing.
Currently the smart seat, can just detect when the driver is sleepy, it is not yet equipped to respond. The next step will be to outfit the seat with an alarm function that is automatically activated when its occupant becomes drowsy. The researchers hope to make the smart seat commercially available in 5 years. In the mean time, stay awake!