Nissan is encouraging “drinking and driving” with a twist. The Japanese automotive manufacturer has developed a technological innovation that encourages motorists to drink water as part of its drive to increase awareness about the importance of proper hydration.
Most of us are aware that driving and alcohol do not go together, but few know that when you are not properly hydrated, you are twice as likely to make mistakes while driving. A study carried out in 2015 by Loughborough University, UK and funded by the European Hydration Institute found that drivers who had only one sip of water (25ml) per hour made more than double the number of mistakes than those who were properly hydrated, a level similar to that made by people with a blood alcohol content of 0.08. some of the mistakes they made included delay in braking, drifting within a lane and sometimes even crossing lanes. Almost two-thirds of the drivers were unable to recognize that they were dehydrated. The symptoms of dehydration include a dry mouth, headache, dizziness, tiredness and slower reaction times.
All motorists need to do to sharpen their focus is drink more water. A study that was carried out on 2013 had revealed that people who drank a pint of water before tackling mental tasks had reaction times that were 14 per cent faster than those who did not have a drink.
Nissan has taken to innovation to come up with a possible solution. Wearable technology is more and more popular nowadays and as many as 1 in 6 people use wearable technology.
Nissan collaborated with Dutch design brand Droog to work on a state-of-the-art sweat-sensing technology coating called SOAK. This was integrated into a Nissan Juke crossover and applied to the steering wheel and front seats of the vehicle. This resulted in the creation of a simple but effective system that has the capability to warn drivers if they need to drink more water
The SOAK coating works by changing color when it comes into contact with sweat – on a person’s hands or on his clothes after a gym session. When the person is dehydrated, the SOAK coating becomes yellow, and when he is hydrated, it turns blue.
Nissan created a video featuring Lucas Ordonez, inaugural winner of the Nissan GT Academy and a NISMO (Nissan Motorsport) athlete, to raise awareness of the impact of driving while dehydrated.
Dr. Harj Chaggar, medical consultant for NISMO said that while many athletes are aware about the need to stay hydrated, people who do not have much to do with sports remain unaware about the impact of dehydration on physiological performance. Integrating sweat-sensing technology into a car is an innovative way of highlighting the need for hydration as it serves to provide a motorist with direct warning if he is dehydrated.
The SOAK coating was conceptualized and developed by Droog researcher and designer Paulien Routs, who had designed SOAK initially for use on sports clothing.
Nissan does not currently plan to add this sweat-sensing technology into the Juke, but this collaboration with Droog highlights the brand’s innovative approach to technology.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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