Smartwatches have been linked to productivity, fitness and health-related activities and apps in the mobile industry. However, a group of technology companies, in partnership with the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom and Biomechanics Institute in Spain, wanted a smart gadget for safety, capable to save drivers from accidents and casualties on the road.
A research grant from the European Union funded the project called the Heart and Respiratory In-Car Embedded Non-intrusive sensors or also known as HARKEN. The proposed smart seatbelts with hidden sensors keep the drivers alert and warns them of heart attack or fatigue.
One of the most popular road killers is driver fatigue. Once the HARKEN system is activated on board, it can detect the driver’s current movement whether he is sleepy or active.The seatbelts have built-in sensors that monitor the driver’s heartbeat, while the car seat covers monitor the respiratory rate. An on-board computer analyzes the data and reduces the noise inside the car to effectively detect normal movements.
If the system detects drowsiness or sleepiness, it will sound an alarm to warn the driver to stop. Eventually, the project leaders will work on the HARKEN system to bring the car in slow stop automatically.
As of press time, the HARKEN is exclusively on the test bed on closed roads. The project leaders said live public testing will be available soon.