A couple of months ago I wrote about Ford’s journey into the mHealth market. They intend to use their SYNC technology to do such things as monitor blood glucose level, monitor heart rate, and even help manage stress.
Toyota is now doing research that may lead to similar offerings. In the midst of researching new safety technologies such as a pre-collision system and a steering control feature, they have also developed an ECG integrated steering wheel. Something Ford has opted to do through a sensor in the driver’s seat.
The Toyota version is fed by sensors in the steering wheel that monitor heart activity. It does require the driver to keep their hands on the wheel, but could provide life saving alerts. By monitoring the driver’s heart signal the driver may be able to recognize an oncoming heart attack before it happens thus allowing for a safe stopping of the car as opposed to a dangerous accident.
While the technology sounds pretty cool, I think that Ford’s overall approach is more intriguing. While an ECG sensor may be valuable to relatively older people, things such as diabetes and stress are something experienced by people of all ages.
They have also already demonstrated the use of great technology in their SYNC system. It would not surprise me to see Toyota start offering similar technologies, but for now Ford is definitely leading the way.