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Japanese Smart Seats Could Prevent Theft

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On: Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 11:30AM | By: Chris Weiss

Japanese Smart Seats Could Prevent Theft

Researchers in Japan have designed an interesting new type of anti-theft device for vehicles. The specially designed driver seat is capable of recognizing its owner and cutting off the ignition if a foreign...um..backside is present.

Developed at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology in Tokyo, the seats, which we'll call smart seats, incorporate a series of 360 pressure sensors that are capable of recognizing the size and shape of the owner. Data from the sensors is sent to the cloud where an external computer analyzes it. If the profile matches the rightful owner, the car starts. If the profile doesn't match, the car doesn't start.

It's definitely an intriguing technology, but I see a couple problems. We're at just the right time of year to realize that a person's size and shape aren't static measures. What if you pile into the car after a couple of days of holiday feasting and the sensors don't recognize the "new you"? You may have to spend an hour or two on the treadmill before driving to work. If you're going to use some type of biometric sensoring, you should base it on something completely unique and unchanging--like fingerprint or retina sensors.

According to reports, the seats have been 98 percent accurate--good, but still leaves a very real chance that you'll be stuck in the driveway.

Plus, wouldn't it be possible for a thief to have a similar profile and trick the system? With 360 sensors, it's probably highly unlikely, if not impossible, but it's not like there aren't a lot of people with similar heights, weights and profiles.

The seats are still in the research phase, but the Institute wants to work with car companies to commercialize the technology. I just don't see it, but we'll see if it ever starts showing up in real cars.

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Stephy21 | 9:28AM (Fri, Dec 30, 2011)

This sounds like a good idea but i think alot of people would be pretty weary about these seats. What if your spouse or a friend wants to drive your or some needs to borrow it and basically you are screwed. Hopefully they will make the technology a little less sensitive, i think they should redesign the technology so its something unique about the owner (like the article says).

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