You know how gross it is to sweat in the seat of your car? Nissan wants to make it even grosser by making your seats and steering wheel change colors based on your sweat. With the new technology, your car could tell you whether or not you’re dehydrated, so you can drink more water and continue driving fully alert.
Design researcher Paulien Routs has solved this problem, which you probably didn’t know you had, by creating the Nissan Juke SOAK in collaboration with Droog Design.
SOAK is an acronym for “sweat sensitive textile coating.” It’s the sweat-sensitive material that informs you of your hydration levels by changing colors. You can get SOAK as a spray-on compound to use on your clothes, particularly workout gear, to let you know if you need to be drinking more water.
How is this useful in cars? Nissan claims that dehydrated driving has such a big effect on reaction time and overall alertness that it can be as bad as driving over the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 percent. This is based on a 2015 study conducted by Loughborough University, in London, funded by the European Hydration Institute. If your car prompts you to drink more water while driving, it makes you a safer, better driver. In theory.
This is kind of cool, but also kind of weird. We’d be surprised if this tech ever made it to a production model considering most people probably don’t want their interior to change colors, or for their seats to know their sweat composition.
Here’s Nismo racing driver Lucas Ordonez demonstrating the Nissan Juke SOAK after a workout.