"We now have the brain-interface technology to make this a reality," says Klaus-Robert Müller, of the Technical University of Berlin. Klaus's team is developing a system that can monitor brain activity, switching off peripheral in-car distractions when that activity peaks. "In a real life situation this could be enough to prevent an accident or stop someone being injured, or worse," Klaus told New Scientist.
In tests, the system was able to improve driver reaction times by up to 100 milliseconds. Which, at 100km/h could reduce braking distance by up to 3 meters.
It works by monitoring brainwaves, filtering out noise like facial ticks and judging when driver's don't have enough computational capacity left for things like warning tones, Sat Nav directions or other extraneous data.
The researcher are now looking into ways to make the device less cumbersome - it currently sits on your head - and say they could have it ready for production in about 5 years.
While we applaud the move to reduce in car distractions, we can't help but feel the time and effort would be better spent educating all drivers on safer driving practices and the dangers of unnecessary distractions like cell-phones and the morning paper. Or a system that automatically judges a person's intelligence, refusing to start the car should the driver in question be predisposed to stupid on-road behavior. [Via New Scientist]