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The Bottom Line: A Japanese Butt Sensor to Protect Your Car

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I had a car full of high school seniors yesterday, so of course I started telling them about the new Japanese butt sensor. It seems that a team from the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology has come up with an ideal way of protecting your car—it won’t start, unless it’s your posterior in the seat. If you can read Japanese, it's all laid out here.

The butt sensor at work in a Japanese lab. (Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology photo)The system has 360 sensors measuring pressure on a scale of zero to 256, and it produces what Wired calls “essentially a topographic map of your ass.” And it’s highly accurate, able to identify six different people 98 percent of the time. Not a fingerprint, a butt print. The scientists, led by Shigeomi Koshimizu, claim it’s more accurate than an iris scan. They say it will be a “highly reliable” security device, and available to the industry in two to three years. But, seriously, any automaker that signs up for it is going to be the butt of jokes.

The high schoolers, true to form, said stuff like “gross” and “ewww.” But then they thought about it a bit and asked some good questions. “Do the clothes you’re wearing make a difference?” asked one. “What if you gain a ton of weight?” said another. Can you imagine getting locked out of your car just because you hadn’t been to the gym all week?
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