Ford to roll out smart ECG car seat that can predict heart attack

Saqib Shah
October 20, 2014

From self-driving vehicles to in-car operating systems from the likes of Apple and Google, the smart car era is truly upon us.

Now, Ford is set to join the intelligent automobile revolution by introducing a car seat that can monitor a driver’s heartbeat.

Through the use of six embedded heart sensors, the Ford car seat can monitor a person’s heart rate and determine if the driver is under distress even through their clothing.

In the vein of a traditional ECG, the in-car heart rate monitor uses the electrodes from its sensors – which are placed on the surface of the car seat – to detect electrical impulses. Therefore, it can determine if the driver is having a heart attack and contact the relevant authorities.

The currently in-development smart seat is being produced by Ford’s European Innovation Centre in Germany in partnership with Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen University.

Ford’s engineers are modifying the smart seat to recognise all body shapes and sizes. Once completed, it is though that the seat will be able to detect increased heart rate activity before the driver – notifying them (via the dashboard) to pull over and seek medical attention. The seat will also work with existing in-car systems including the Lane Departure Warning, Active City Stop and Speed Limiter. Additionally, in extreme cases, the device will also be able to inform the emergency services of an accident.

Ford decided to create the new car seat to aid the ageing population in the US.

‘With increasing life expectancy meaning higher numbers of people and therefore drivers at risk of heart diseases, the ability to monitor hearts at the wheel would offer massive benefits in terms of health and road safety, both for the user and the wider public,’ said RWTH Aachen University Professor Steffen Leonhardt.

No release date for the rollout of the smart car seat has been revealed. A Ford spokesman told The Daily Mail that it could be by 2020.

About the Author

Saqib Shah

Tech/gaming journalist for What Mobile magazine and website. Interests include film, digital media and foreign affairs.

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