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Humans and technology

F1 drivers are getting biometric gloves that monitor the stress of racing

February 2, 2018

Pit crews will be able to keep a watchful eye on drivers thanks to new sensors at their fingertips.

The idea: F1 drivers are put through huge stresses during a race. Being able to monitor their vitals remotely will allow teams to keep a careful eye on them, say, or know what's happened to them following a crash.

The gloves: From this year, drivers will wear gloves that include a pulse oximetry sensor to measure heart rate and blood oxygen. The sensor is powered by a small battery that charges wirelessly and beams encrypted data up to 500 meters via Bluetooth. The gloves were in testing during 2017 but are now required. Temperature and breathing rate monitoring will be added in the future.

Why it matters: Staff from F1’s governing body established a startup, Signal Biometrics, to develop the sensors, which are thin, flexible, and fire-resistant. Like other advances first developed for F1, the technology could appear in consumer products before long.

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