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Forget face detection - this Japanese car seat can tell who's sitting on it


December 27, 2011

A group of Japanese researchers at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology have developed a car seat that can identify drivers while they're sitting down

A group of Japanese researchers at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology have developed a car seat that can identify drivers while they're sitting down

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Who needs face detection when your car can know who's sitting in it based on their rear-end? A group of Japanese researchers at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology (AIIT) have developed a car seat that can identify drivers while they're sitting down.

The way the technology works is pretty simple. The seat is retrofitted with 360 different sensors. Those sensors take into account things like your weight, the highest value of pressure on the seat, and where you come in contact with the seat. The idea is that we all sit in car seats relatively the same way each time, so the seat should be able to tell who is sitting in it, ensuring that the person is the owner of the car rather than a car thief.

While it seems like the tech might be problematic, the researchers claim the seat is able to accurately identify the person sitting in it 98 percent of the time. That's a pretty impressive accuracy rate, but it also means that one in every 50 times the seat would in theory not be able to recognize you, potentially resulting in your inability to drive your own car. It's also not clear how the seat would deal with things like weight loss or gain, the wearing of unusual clothing, or injuries that might effect how you sit down.

The AIIT researchers hope to work with car companies to bring the tech to vehicles as an anti-theft features in the next two to three years.

What do you think? Would you be interested in seat detection in your car?

Source: TechCrunch


Too much time on their hands with more techonolgy to go wrong on a car.

Joseph Shimandle

It sounds like exactly the sort of buggy gimmick that comes and goes leaving only lighter wallets and regret.

Von Meerman

Over engineering.


Why not put a thumb print reader on the engine start button that would unlock the car computer for authorized drivers only.

Joseph Shimandle

something that will break and leave you dead in the water in in five years or 16,000 miles, like all the Minis we see breaking here a \"oh sorry, that is not a warranty issue, yes we know you car is in warranty, but the $2800.00 clutch is not covered,, the bloody car had 16k and mini charged for it, horrible car

Bill Bennett

seat sensors are notorious for failing, the wires break when a FAT ASS or sharp object applies weight to it

Bill Bennett


Dan Veronese

Dear Japanese Engineer,

I am much taller than my wife and am literally unable to sit in the car before I move the seat. Simplify your system with two different RF keys that identify each of us before we enter the car so the seat and mirrors will be in the correct place before we enter. Thank you. Send royalty checks to me.

Mark A

Leave it to the Japanese to identify us by our butt prints.

Bryan Paschke

I thought it was designed to set the seat and mirrors according to the driver? nope? then it\'s a waste of time.

What happens when you take the car to service, or lend it to a pal? do they have to use a (silicon?) model of your backside in order to drive it?

What would be more useful is fa** detection which automatically opens the windows... LOL


Why did they draw the seat outline around the gearstick but not the handbrake?


@Mark A 1997 called and asked you to by a Lincoln. Any car with memory seats and keyless entry will be able to do that. Sorry no royalty checks for you.

With 360 sensors on a seat my mind boggles. For the last decade a good proportion of my time has been taken up dealing with SWS (Seat Weight Sensor) systems - mainly Japanese, and I am familiar with some of the things that go wrong during the assembly process. Pity the poor plant that needs to churn out 1000 of these a day. How many wire connections need to be made. What kind of tester to ensure all sensors are functioning correctly, How do the sensors interact with the seat heaters , and AVS systems. And there are a ton more issues to take into account.

I may be useful for determining on how a passenger is sitting in order to decide which airbags are deployed in the event of an accident, but from the quality assurance point of view I see many issues.

Bring them on , looks like another decades worth of work :)


Mark A:

Some cars already do that (adjust seats based on which key opened the car), and have for some years. I haven\'t seen it on a car under $35K, however.

Stan Sieler

There is nothing new here. American companies, seat suppliers and all the rest use the same pressure maps to identify how people sit on, and get in/out of a seat when they open the door. They \"pressure map\" a large collection of people of different shapes and sizes. Then the data is fed into a robot with a butt & back form that moves on/off of the seat many thousands of times to simulate a lifetime of wear and tear on the seat. These maps are sensitive to things like wallets or keys in someone\'s back pockets.

Mike Mowett
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