When Larry David calls out “I'd know that tush anywhere!,” hilarity (and trouble) quickly ensues. When your car says it – or at least, thinks it – the result is the engine starting and personal comfort preferences like climate control and seat positioning being remembered and activated, hands free. It's still sort of hilarious, of course, but you can't deny the security or the practicality inherent in the concept.
We can thank associate professor Shigeomi Koshimizu (left) of the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology for bringing us the concept of a pressure-sensing seat.
Professor Koshimizu's research team at the AIIT implanted 360 pressure sensors in the lower portion of a standard vehicle bucket seat, with each sensor able to measure downward force on a scale of 0 through 256. The data is processed to create a map that, once stored in memory, is 98 percent accurate in identifying a returning sitter.
Current biometric devices that scan one's fingerprint or iris are intrusive and can cause stress to those being scanned, explains Professor Koshimizu. On the other hand, using the seat sensor is relaxing as, well, sitting down.
As well, the performance of other biometric sensors can suffer from the effects of dirt and debris so the new seat sensor can add one more weapon to security experts' arsenal... no pun intended.
While we may see seat identification sensors installed in production vehicles in as little as 2 to 3 years, Professor Koshimizu foresees many other uses for them. For example, office workers and home computer users may someday log into their computers simply by sitting down at their desks. Sure beats remembering a new password every time you change it! (via Physorg, The Register, Gizmodo, and Open Library)