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Ford has developed a heart monitor seat

Ford has developed a heart monitor seat that can detect when the driver is having a heart attack, and activate the brakes and steering to bring the car to a safe stop.

THERE WAS A TIME when heated seats in cars was all the rage… not anymore. Ford has just announced new car seat technology that can detect when the driver suffers from a heart attack. There’s no word on when this technology might make it to production, but Ford’s Research Centre director Pim van der Jagt has said it could be on the market in less than five years.

Using electrocardiograph sensors in the seats to detect an irregular heartbeat, combined with an in-car camera that detects when the driver slumps in their seat, the car can activate automated steering and braking systems to bring the car to a stop safely. It can then ring the emergency services for you – a modification of SYNC2 with Emergency Assistance.

Mr van der Jagt said, “100-year olds driving cars will not be abnormal in the future”. This is when heart attacks and other medical conditions could become a leading cause of accidents.

“About 30% of people above 65 have some kind of heart irregularity”. And with an aging population and thus the number of older car buyers set to rise the development of such technology is vital to maintaining safety on the road. But Dr Achim Linder of the Ford research Centre added that the seat can also be used for other conditions, such as “high blood pressure or electrolyte imbalances”.

Ford is working with Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen University for the project, which sees six sensors embedded into the seat working like an ECG, picking up the electronic signals of the heart to monitor its activity. Ford’s team has already devised a way to create sensors capable of picking up the heart’s signals through the drivers clothing and are now working on universal sensors to suit all body types, sizes and shapes.


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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober