Car parts producer Faurecia say their Active Wellness seat is the world's first car seat to detect and respond to motorists' physical and mental status. Matthew Stock reports.
STORY: Keeping calm and alert behind the wheel could get a lot easier... thanks to this intelligent car seat. Developers Faurecia says their "Active Wellness" seat is the world's first health-monitoring car seat. It's biometric sensing system detects if the driver has a drop in energy levels or is under stress, and responds with on the move therapy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OLAF BIEDERMANN, DIRECTOR INNOVATION EUROPE, FAURECIA AUTOMOTIVE SEATING, SAYING: "The Active Wellness seat is Faurecia's vision on the next level of personalised comfort. So, what we basically do is to monitor respiration rate and heart rate in the seat, and we derive stress and energy level from that. Then, having this kind of wellness being information, we now can offer a closed-loop comfort system; so in case you are stressed you get a relaxation massage, in case you have low energy levels you get a very energising massage." Developed over five years, the Active Wellness seat has non-contact sensors integrated into the seat cushion, with unique algorithms and signal processors delivering real-time monitoring. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OLAF BIEDERMANN, DIRECTOR INNOVATION EUROPE, FAURECIA AUTOMOTIVE SEATING, SAYING: "We have a unique technology integrated; it is piezoelectric sensors integrated in the seat cushion. Very simple and robust, and our way to measure the information." In operation, the seat analyses the occupant's heart rhythms and breathing patterns. This data is used to calculate their mental and physical state, with a message appearing on a screen in the cabin offering treatment. If the user accepts the recommendation, they will receive a massage, with a warming or cooling sensation through the seat's ventilation system to either relax or energise them. And it's designed to work alongside other wearable devices and adjust its recommendations if, say, the user was exercising before entering the car. The makers say their intelligent car seat could be on the market by 2020.