Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Health check while driving the car

Date:
November 22, 2011
Source:
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Summary:
Researchers have developed a sensor system integrated into the steering wheel that can monitor the driver's state of health while driving. The driver can use his time behind the wheel for a minor health check. The device might also be used to recognize the onset fainting spells or heart attacks.

Researchers have developed a sensor system integrated into the steering wheel that can monitor the driver's state of health while driving.
Credit: Image courtesy of Technische Universitaet Muenchen

Safety in traffic depends on a number of factors. One decisive aspect is how fit the driver is. A research team at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM), in collaboration with researchers at the BMW Group, managed to develop a sensor system integrated into the steering wheel that can monitor the driver's state of health while driving. The driver can use his time behind the wheel for a minor health check. At the same time the device might be used recognize the onset fainting spells or heart attacks.

If you spend a lot of time driving, in addition to listening to the radio or making phone calls, in the future you will be able to undertake a small health check. Together with researchers from the BMW Group, scientists at the TU Muenchen Chair of Micro Technology and Medical Device Technology (MiMed) directed by Professor Tim C. Lueth have developed a system that monitors vital signs such as heart rate, skin conductance and oxygen saturation in the blood via simple sensors in the steering wheel.

A series of systems for monitoring vital signs while driving have already been developed in the context of studies to measure stress levels while driving, among other things. However, none of these systems are suited for automotive mass production. By integrating appropriate sensors into the steering wheel, the scientists managed to circumvent the laborious wiring of the driver. The data collected is radioed to a microcontroller, which in turn can show the measurement results on the vehicle information system display.

A driver's skin conductance, for instance, reveals whether he or she is under severe stress, or whether his or her blood pressure exceeds a critical value. The only requirement is that the driver's hands are in contact with the sensors integrated into the steering wheel. Initial tests with people in cooperation with the Munich Senior Citizens Advisory Council were very promising. The sensors integrated into the steering wheel provided data during four fifths of the driving time. More than half of the test persons felt incited by the system to conduct repeated check-ups.

The goal of the project goes far beyond monitoring vital signs and recognizing dysfunctions. "Our vision is to get the vehicle to detect when the driver is no longer feeling well and to the initiate appropriate measures," says Professor Lueth. "When a stress situation is detected by means of skin conductance values, phone calls can be blocked, for instance, or the volume of the radio turned down automatically. With more serious problems the system could turn on the hazard warning lights, reduce the speed or even induce automated emergency braking."

Two commercially available sensors are key elements of the integrated vital signs measurement system. One of them shines infrared light into the fingers and measures the heart rate and oxygen saturation via reflected light; the second measures the electric conductance of the skin at contact.

The scientists at MiMed have also developed a micro-controller application that processes the data and transfers them back to the vehicle. In order to extend the data pool and make as many reliable assertions as possible on the state of a driver's health, a radio connection can be established to additional external devices, e.g. a blood pressure monitor.

These results ensued from the research project Fit4Age in the "Assistance Systems for an Aging Society" group and were funded with grants from the Bavarian Research Foundation (BFS). Cooperation partners at the BMW Group did the technical installation of components into the vehicle.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Technische Universitaet Muenchen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lorenzo T. D’Angelo, Tim C. Lόth. Integrated Systems for distraction-free vital signs-measurment in vehicles. Automobiltechnische Zeitschrift, 11/2011

Cite This Page:

Technische Universitaet Muenchen. "Health check while driving the car." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111103122425.htm>.
Technische Universitaet Muenchen. (2011, November 22). Health check while driving the car. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111103122425.htm
Technische Universitaet Muenchen. "Health check while driving the car." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111103122425.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) — The Chasqui I, hand-delivered into orbit by a Russian cosmonaut, is one of hundreds of small satellites set to go up in the next few years. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins