Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus are among the automakers exploring the "next big thing in car technology: biometric monitors," reports Moon.
"Ford technician Jeff Greenberg, who is leading the carmaker's research into the use of biometric monitors, says the car of the future could be equipped to keep track of you in much more intimate ways. Among the monitors that Ford has been researching, he says, are sensors embedded in the steering wheel that can measure galvanic skin response -- 'basically how sweaty your palms are,' he explains. Seat belt sensors can monitor breathing rates."
What's the purpose of mobile medical monitoring? Improving safety, primarily. "Based on what your car decides, Greenberg says, your cell phone might not ring through at just the moment you're likely experiencing sensory overload in heavy traffic." Or your car may gently let you know you're becoming drowsy, and become more insistent if you keep going.
"So, could a car be programmed to stop automatically if it sensed, say, a heart attack?" asks Moon. "Greenberg stresses that the data won't be used to diagnose health conditions."
"They're not designed as medical-grade sensors," Greenberg explains. "We are not going to turn the car into an FDA-certified medical device."