Readers of Medgadget are well aware of noninvasive heart and respiratory rate monitoring, but the technology that’s been getting popular for clinical patient monitoring is now being used to detect when car drivers are getting drowsy.

Researchers from Instituto de Biomecánica de Valencia (Biomechanics Institute – IBV) in Spain led the effort to integrate sensors into a car’s seat and seatbelt that can continuously track the heart beat and breathing of the driver.

The system compensates for vibrations arising from the car , as well as for the driver’s movement within the seat. The readings are collected by a computer that can interpret the vital signs with the hope of warning the driver if he/she is falling asleep.