Nissan’s Sweat-Sensing Seats and Steering Wheel

October 5, 2017 •


Many of today’s cars are packed to the brim with sensors. Between backup cameras, seatbelt sensors and engine bay features, it’s hard to top modern innovations via an annual upgrade—or, so we thought. Nissan has joined forces with the Dutch design companyDroog, to develop a sensor capable of—wait for it—reading your sweat.

Nissan: Sweat-Sensing Seats

This sensor can determine dehydration, and it’s being implemented into the new Nissan Juke prototype. Its seats are outfitted with the manufacturer’s own cloth coating titled SOAK. While seemingly normal at first, the technology changes colors depending on the individual’s hydration. For those who are lacking water, the cloth appears yellow. For those who have become hydrated, the cloth becomes blue.

Nissan: Sweat-Sensing Steering Wheel

Nissan’s moisture-sensing technology doesn’t end there. Understanding the dangers of dehydration, the manufacturer utilized the same technology to create a sweat-sensing steering wheel. The wheel features the same materials—to be used as touch-and-go dehydration gauges.

The logic here is that Nissan wants to promote safe driving by bringing awareness to the dangers of dehydration. A 2013 study covered subjects using a driving simulator, discovering a surprising two-time increase in road incidents in dehydrated drivers when compared to hydrated drivers.

Nissan’s Dehydrated Driving Initiative

Many of the errors related to dehydrated driving existed in lane-drifting, lane-braking and similar quick-reaction navigational movements. In fact, the errors were on par with those created by individuals with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent. Nissan, itself, has suggested that a majority of drivers fail in recognizing dehydration symptoms. Slow reaction times, lacking focus and dehydration are apparently linked in intimate ways.

Nissan, at the moment, is conservative with its technology. We are unlikely to see mass-adoption of the technology. However, with that said, Nissan may extend the technology beyond its Juke crossover line. As scientists discover more about how dehydration impacts our driving, we will likely see the adoption of similar technologies. Already, several manufacturers are studying factors like muscle fatigue and glucose levels. Understanding driver perspiration, it seems, is a popular strategy among big-name brands.

With this moisture-sensing technology, Nissan is trying to make our roads safer. You can check out Nissan’s statement about dehydrated driving here. In the meantime, you should double-check your own dehydration habits. More often than not, drivers become dehydrated without knowing it. If you haven’t been drinking enough water, you should take a thermos with you. While minimal, the effects are enough to determine your safety.