Japanese use motorway toilets to monitor driver fatigue

A motorway service station in Japan is offering drivers the chance to check their tiredness levels while using the toilet.

A Japan Today article tells how its reporter Masanuki Sunakoma tried out the technology at Kanagawa Prefecture’s Ebina Service Area, 45 minutes from Tokyo.

“Stepping inside the stall, he took a seat and saw a digital display with buttons on the right-hand side for controlling the bidet and running water noises that mask the sounds of you doing your business,” the report says. “On the left-hand side of the panel were the words “Fatigue Measurement” in blue, with a variety of language options beneath it.

“One of the first concerns people may have about trying the new system is the fear that cameras may be involved in the measurement process. However, you can rest assured that no cameras are used–instead, there are vibration sensors built into the toilet seat that analyse “pulse fluctuations” which are able to calculate an individual’s fatigue levels.”

The report goes on to explain that, because he hadn’t driven for very long from Tokyo, Masanuki selected the “Not Tired” response when asked how he felt – data used to find out how many drivers can accurately judge their tiredness levels.

“Masanuki then pressed the “start” button, and followed the instructions to relax while the measurement was being taken,” the article continues. “And then, after the 60 seconds was up, Masanuki received his results, which read: “You don’t feel tired. You’re fatigue measurement is ‘somewhat tired'”.”

The report concludes by saying that Masanuki took the results as a wake-up call to pay more attention to rest breaks, given that his true sense of fatigue may not be accurate and stopped for coffee and melon bread.

Read the report and see pictures here.

(Main picture – Yay Images)

Either way, a stop at Ebina is a good excuse to enjoy a coffee and one of their famous melon breads.


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