Ford prepares heart rate monitoring seat image

Ford researchers have developed a heart rate monitoring seat with electrode sensing technology that can check a driver’s heart activity.

A joint project undertaken by experts from Ford’s European Research and Innovation Centre in Aachen,Germany and Rheinisch-Westfalische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen University, the seat uses six special embedded sensors to detect electrical impulses generated by the heart.

“The sensors use a very specially designed system and carefully researched materials to be able to give a good signal without contact on the skin,” Lindner said.

“We are still fine-tuning their operation to work with some materials; certain types of synthetic fabric and lamb’s wool can cause electrical interference that upsets the signal, but we can achieve a strong signal through 10 layers of cotton.”

Data collected by the sensors, for example, could be analyzed by medical experts or onboard computer software. Possibilities therefore abound, notes Lindner, from linking to remote medical services and Ford vehicle safety systems to even providing real-time health information and alerts of imminent cardiovascular issues such as a heart attack.