Steering wheel checks heart rate while you drive

Automakers continue to push toward in-car medical monitoring features, and the latest offering is Toyota's new steering wheel that doubles as an ECG detection device to keep tabs on your heart rate while on the go.

Reported via gadget website Medgadget on July 26, Toyota flaunted the new steering wheel to journalists in Japan last Thursday.

The new system is equipped with contact sensors that can detect abnormal heart rhythms while your hands are placed on the wheel. If the system detected an imminent problem, it could begin to slow the car automatically to reduce the risk of a serious accident, for example.

Plus the device could potentially provide real-time data to remote medical services in the event of an accident or send automatic updates to a doctor to help patients with diagnosed illnesses manage their condition.

No news is yet available on when Toyota plans to start using the device in its automobiles.

Earlier this year, Ford announced a new car seat embedded with sensors that can monitor the occupant's heartbeat. The US automaker has also unveiled other novel new technologies such as pollen counters and glucose monitors which could one day be linked up to vehicles.

The ideas behind this aren't new, of course - several concept cars in the past have suggested the idea of bioreadings, including Taeho Yoon's Muon concept car, which could monitor heart rates using sensors in the steering wheel.

See the Ford system in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEQ9smLOG4Q

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