Car Seat Senses Your Road Rage, Offers a Massage

The Active Wellness seat contains sensors that detect the driver's heartbeat and breathing patterns.

In rush hour traffic, road rage bubbles up. Idiots are everywhere. No one signals. It's a recipe for maximum stress.

Fortunately there's an antidote. Automotive manufacturer Faurecia created a smart car seat that can tell when you're being driven to the brink, and it responds with fresh air and a massage.

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The Active Wellness seat contains sensors that detect the driver's heartbeat and breathing patterns. A smart biometric sensing system crunches the numbers to figure out how the driver is feeling.

"[The seat] allows us to understand something about your heart rate, your respiration rate, and then analyze that to really understand your stress level," Faurecia advanced innovation manager Matthew Benson told CBS Los Angeles.

When the seat senses that the driver is stressed out, it automatically responds with a specific massage pattern designed to calm the person down. The seat's temperature automatically adjusts, too. Fresh air comes in through the car's ventilation system. In case the driver exhibits signs of drowsiness, the massage pattern is more re-energizing than relaxing, according to Faurecia's description.

The French company collaborated with NASA engineers, Ohio State University's Spine Research Institute, and Stanford University's Center for Design Research on the seat. Recently Faurecia and Stanford reps discussed autonomous vehicle advancements in Los Angeles at the Connected Car Expo.

The car seat is still in development, though. Faurecia's site indicated that it could take two or three years for it to hit the market. When it does, the seat could be the first in the world to monitor driver health in this intelligent way.

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A smart, massaging car seat sounds fantastic to me. The way I grip the wheel on the highway here, a seat like that could ease my fears. Especially when there are high concrete barriers and driving rain. This thing is going on my wishlist.

via CBS Los Angeles