Ford Motor Company’s advanced research engineers have developed a prototype vehicle seat that can monitor a driver’s heart activity and could one day reduce the number of accidents and fatalities that occur as a result of motorists having heart attacks behind the wheel.
The prototype Ford seat employs ECG (electrocardiograph) technology that monitors the heart’s electrical impulses and detects signs of irregularity that can provide an early warning that a driver should seek medical advice, because he might be impacted by a heart attack or other cardiovascular issues. Whereas a normal ECG machine in a doctor’s office requires metal electrodes to be attached to the skin at various points on the body, the Ford ECG seat has six built-in sensors that can detect heart activity through the driver’s clothing.
Ford is also testing the prototype seat to understand how it could work with other advanced systems within Ford vehicles to warn a driver to pull over and seek medical attention, or possibly even send out an alert to emergency medical workers if necessary. This technology would reach the market within five years.