'Heartbeat car' displays driver's pulse on biometric bodywork

July 26, 2015 // By Rich Pell
In a conceptual project demonstration of "a car that's connected to the driver," Lexus has created a vehicle that can display a driver's heartbeat on its exterior.

The demo featured a lexus RC-F show car equipped with a special electroluminescent exterior coating - also referred to by Lexus as "biometric paintwork" - being driven at night by professional race car drivers. The drivers were connected via body sensors to a heart rate monitor, which wirelessly sent their heartbeat signals to the car's exterior coated body panels for display.

The system was controlled using a custom built Arduino board and powered via a 13-V auxiliary battery. The specialized phosphorescent paint used on the vehicle's exterior was Lumilor, from Darkside Scientific (Medina, OH). When turned off, the exterior coating appears as a standard silver finish.

While the current demo may not have any immediate practical use, Lexus sees the concept as an extension of wearable technology. The company envisions the possibility of creating cars that are capable of sensing the emotions or physical status of drivers and being able to react accordingly in cases where driving safety may be affected.

Lexus 'Heartbeat Car'