Robert S. Kinder, Jr., Mechanical Engineer ::::
Technologies in cars reach new levels every day to meet the demand for safety, comfort, style, and performance. Automakers now move to broaden vehicle capabilities to ensure that occupants are in good health. The current goal is to monitor vital health signs such as blood pressure, pulse, blood sugar, and stress. Many companies plan to use a seat that contains sensors to monitor various health parameters. In addition to the seat, the steering wheel can be equipped with sensors.
The Munich Technical University has conducted research along with BMW. The research resulted in a steering wheel that monitors infrared reflectance through the driver’s fingers to measure heart rate and oxygen saturation. They were also able to monitor stress by measuring skin conductance. The information obtained by the sensors can be transmitted to the vehicle’s display, allowing the driver or occupants to be aware of potential problems.
Although this technology can monitor many health parameters, vehicles are not yet intended to replace doctors and most likely will not be giving a medical diagnosis.
However, one aspect the vehicle can help with is detection time. As we know, the outcomes of medical issues can sometimes be correlated to detection times. Earlier detection times can lead to more positive outcomes. According to Ford, operators with cardiovascular disease are 23 percent more likely to be involved in a vehicular collision.
In a case where a medical event is suspected to have contributed to a collision, this health monitoring technology could be a determining factor.
For additional information, contact Robert S. Kinder, Jr., Mechanical Engineer with DJS Associates at 215-659-2010 or via email at experts@forensicDJS.com.