Good day and welcome to Health Tech Weekly, the show on technology that helps create a healthier you! I’m your host Jamie Davis, the Podmedic. Before we get into this week’s health tech item, make sure you head over to our site at HTWeekly.com for links to everything covered in this episode, contact information and more. Also, Health Tech Weekly is a proud member of the Tech Podcast Network, if it’s tech it’s here at TPN.tv.
Cars of the Future Monitor Driver Health
So how cool would it be if your car could monitor your health while you’re driving? Pretty cool, right? Enter the Harken project over at Harken.ibv.org. They understand that many motor vehicle accidents happen due to driver fatigue. People fall asleep while driving or just become drowsy and less attentive all the time.
According to data collected in the EU, almost 10% of all crashes can be attributed to driver fatigue. The stats are similar here in the U.S. and lead to thousands of highway deaths each year. If only we could do something to fight this fatigue and recognize it before it became a problem.
Sensors Implanted in Seatbelts
The folks at the Harken project have discovered that by implanting heart and respiratory sensors in the seatbelt straps of a normal car, they could monitor the driver’s heart and breathing rates and see when they were devolving into a pattern that would lead to drowsiness. They’ve already been able to create sensors that can detect heart rate and breathing patterns while not being affected by the movement of the car or the driver’s normal body motion.
Now the task is to take that monitoring and determine when a person is getting tired and falling asleep. That is where they are in the project now. The exciting part of this is that within the next 5 or 10 years, this technology could be standard issue for long-haul truck drivers, police and EMS personnel and anyone else who spends a lot of time behind the wheel. It will also eventually show up in our own cars someday, making the roads safer for all of us and reducing the number of deaths from fatigued and drowsy driving.
Stay tuned for more updates in a future episode here on Health Tech Weekly!
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I’m your host Jamie Davis, the Podmedic. I’ll be back soon with more health technology for you. In the meantime, remember that improving health takes small, simple steps that over time all add up to a healthier you. Why don’t you take a healthier step today?