Sweat-sensing technology in the seats alert you if you need a top-up. Of water, that is, not alcohol.
The dangers of drinking and driving while over the legal alcohol limit are well publicized, but driving without drinking enough water can be just as dangerous. We've seen car gadgets that can detect when you've drunk too much, but the technology in this Nissan Juke does the exact opposite and detects when you're too dehydrated. It was made in response to a 2015 study by a London University, which found that driving while dehydrated can have the same effects on concentration and reaction times as being 0.08 percent over the legal alcohol limit.
The study found that drivers who had consumed only a sip of water every hour made more than double the number of mistakes on the road than those who were properly hydrated. Common mistakes included late-braking, drifting within a lane and crossing lane lines. According to Nissan, around two-thirds of drivers are unable to recognise the symptoms of dehydration.
To raise awareness on the effects of dehydration and driving, the automaker has a solution, Behold the Nissan Juke SOAK built in collaboration with Droog Design which can detect when you're dehydrated. How does it work? The seats and steering wheel are fitted with "sweat sensitive textile coating" that senses how much you're sweating. They then change color accordingly when in contact with perspiration, and the car alerts you if you need to drink more water. If you're dehydrated, the coating turns yellow, and if you're hydrated it turns blue. As Nismo racing driver Lucas Ordonez demonstrates in a video, the SOAK can also be applied as a spray-on compound to use on your clothes.
"While many athletes are well-versed on keeping hydrated, many people outside the sporting sphere remain unaware of the impact of dehydration on physiological performance," said Dr. Harj Chaggar, medical consultant for NISMO. "Sweat-sensing technology built into a car is an innovative way of highlighting this, aiding prevention by warning the driver directly." Nissan currently has no plans to add the sweat-sensing technology to the Juke, so it's just a prototype for now. Whether or not the technology finds its way into a future production car remains to be seen. It's a novel idea, but seeing the upholstery constantly changing color could get distracting.