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Health check on the road
Date:11/3/2011

This release is available in German.

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 w
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Contact: Dr. Andreas Battenberg
battenberg@zv.tum.de
49-892-891-0510
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Source:Eurekalert  

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