Nissan Wants To Let You Know When You Need A Swig Of Water
New sweat-sensing technology can monitor your hydration levelby Kirby Garlitos, on
Most of you have probably heard about the study conducted by the European Hydration Institute back in 2015 that concluded that dehydration has the same effects on a person as driving under the influence of alcohol. Whether its tiredness, headaches, dizziness, and slower reactions times, these symptoms have been suggested as being evident in cases of people who are dehydrated or are under the influence. Nissan is well aware of the situation and is addressing it with Dutch design brand Droog. Their solution? A sweat-sensing material on the steering wheel and driver’s seat that informs drivers when they’re dehydrated and in need of some rehydration.
The video provides a proper demonstration of how the technology works, though, in a nutshell, it essentially involves a material called SOAK coating that’s placed on the two aforementioned locations. The material works by changing colors to indicate the driver’s hydration levels with “yellow” indicating that they’re dehydrated and “blue” signifying that they’re fully hydrated. It is worth mentioning that Droog actually owns the rights to the equipment, which it initially developed to help and inform athletes of their own hydration levels. Now that it’s partnered with Nissan, there’s the possibility that the technology can be applied to the auto industry. There’s no telling when that’s going to be since Nissan itself hasn’t indicated its plans for the SOAK technology and its potential application for its model lineup. That said, the Japanese automaker must be intrigued enough with the product to enlist Nismo racer Lucas Ordoñez to help spread awareness regarding the real state of affairs as far as driving while dehydrated is concerned.
Smart technology although not pleasant to look at
If you’ve seen the video, you probably know by now how the technology works. The SOAK material is placed on the steering wheel where the driver grips it. Once it comes in contact with perspiration, it starts to change color depending on whether a person is hydrated or not. If he or she is, the color of the SOAK coating turns to blue. If he isn’t, it turns to yellow. In cases of the later it means the driver is being informed that he needs to chug down water. Once he does and he’s properly hydrated, the yellow color turns blue. The same principle applies in the SOAK coating located in the driver’s seat.
It’s a simple enough tool, though I will point out that the yellow color on the seats reminds me of the color of yellow pee, the surest indicator of dehydration. I don’t know about you, but the image of all that yellow on the seats is vivid enough for me to think of it as, well, you know.
On a more serious note, the study’s revelation about the effects of dehydration on a driver is ironically sobering. Further studies even qualified the research, saying that the number of road errors dehydrated drivers make was equivalent to the number of errors a person with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent finds himself making. It may not seem like much, but that 0.08 percent is the legal limit across most of the US.
The pertinent question to ask now is whether or not we’ll see this kind of technology on future Nissan models. It’s too early to say at this point since Nissan itself hasn’t fully committed to using the product. I think it should though, uncomfortable visuals notwithstanding. I’ve always been a proponent of enhancing driver’s safety on the road through means that are meaningful and yield positive results. This kind of technology does that to a certain degree. It doesn’t have any of the usual physical restraints so it shouldn’t be of inconvenience to any of us. And, if it the application of this technology means that we have a better focus on the road, then I’m all for it.
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Source: YouTube - Nissan