Sensors integrated into the steering wheel monitor the driver's vital signs while driving (Image: Jakob Neuhauser / TUM)
In the early 1900’s, Birmigham’s Oliver Lucas developed a steering wheel fitted with an electric car horn that quickly became an industry standard. For many years the horn remained the only button found on vehicle steering wheels, but nowadays they are covered with a multitude of buttons for controlling everything from the vehicle’s sound and climate control systems to on board computer functions and a connected smartphone. Researchers from Germany's Technische Universitaet Muenchen, working in collaboration with BMW, have now extended the function of the humble steering wheel even further with the development of a sensor system integrated into the steering wheel that can give the driver a quick health check while driving.
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