Driver health monitoring

Silicon and Infrared Detectors with LEDs are used for driver health monitoring, which has lately gained attention for uses inside vehicles.


The vital signs of humans are body temperature, heart rate, respiration rate and blood pressure, all of which can be measured with optical sensors and used for the monitoring of the drivers health. Consumer devices, such as fitness wristbands or smart watches, have already started to spread in the market and use such technologies. Driver health monitoring is discussed as an interesting feature for the future in order to avoid accidents.


Accidents are more likely to occur when the driver is in a state of critical health. For example, in the case of a heart attack. Driver health monitoring could help to detect such problems early and the car can take over to get into a safe stopping position at the side of the road. An ambulance could then be called automatically.


The body temperature of the driver, for example, measured via hands on the steering wheel, and the ambient temperature in the car for comparison, can be measured with optical infrared sensors, such as thermopiles.


Heart rate is probably one of the most interesting driver health monitoring features and is easily realized with an LED and Silicon Photodiode, by using the absorption of a certain wavelength of blood cells. The smart sensor P12347-01CT integrates LEDs and an RGB-Photodiode with digital interface inside one tiny package and is therefore designed for such applications.


The respiration rate can be observed by measuring CO2 with a thermopile, as T11722-01T , checking the absorption wavelength of CO2 and one other reference wavelength.


The blood flow, O2 or hemoglobin concentration in the blood, or the skin moisture are examples of other parameters that give an insight into the driver’s health state. Optical measurements enable this driver health monitoring.


In addition to the driver health monitoring, another idea is to incorporate an alcohol test, which is bound to the possibility to start the engine. Alcohol in the breath can be detected in the near-infrared range with optical technologies.

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