HALO isn’t the only new safety device in 2018

Courtesy FIA

While F1 fans around the world are bemoaning the HALO—and perhaps that’s a legit concern—the FIA are also using a new kind of biometric glove this weekend in the Australian Grand Prix.

The gloves will be worn by every F1 driver and monitor their vital signs during the race via a flexible 3mm sensor stitched into the palm area of the fabric. The FIA has worked closely with F1 glove manufacturers Puma, OMP, Alpinestars and Sparco to integrate these sensors.

As a Mid-west boy, the term Oximetry has me thinking of how to line up bovine in a pleasing manner but it actually is the amount of oxygen in the blood along with pulse rate and this allows trackside medical teams to monitor a driver immediately if there is an accident.

The project is the result of a partnership between the Global Institute and Signal Biometrics Ltd, the company set up by Dr Ian Roberts and the engineer Alain van der Merwe, who have both been involved in Formula One with the FIA for many years respectively as FIA F1 Deputy Medical Delegate and FIA F1 Medical Car Driver.

Ian Roberts said: “We know that the monitoring of people is essential in terms of their medical care and drivers in incidents are no different. We would like to start monitoring and assessing them as soon as we possibly can. There are also times when the driver isn’t immediately accessible to us, so if we can’t see him or we’re not actually next to him, there’s limited information that we can get.”

With this new technology, the moment a driver has an incident the trackside medical team will receive physiological readings and biometrics, so he is continually monitored from point zero right through to the initial response and on to the medical center.

Alan van der Merwe added: “This will enable monitoring of the driver not only when still in the car, but also offer the benefit of continuous monitoring during patient transport.”

Going forward, there are already plans to implement sensors for respiratory rate and temperature. In addition to the safety benefits, these will help teams and drivers with performance monitoring. Respiratory rate gives a very good indication of a driver’s state of health and stress, while temperature is well known for affecting performance.

Maybe it’s just me but if they put an accelerometer in there too, we could see just how fast these drivers move their hands in reaction to the car’s telemetry and measure reaction speed. That would be cool…to me at least.

Hat Tip: FIA

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Maybe it would be cramming too much tech into a device, but heart rate can already be done on commercially available earbud products. Some even support VO2. I’m sure the gloves are far more accurate, but maybe having both would be better. Most of the time a drivers helmut stays on, even after a crash, but the gloves seem to be the first thing dispensed of. I could see a big wreck, the driver still conscious throwing off his gloves and then he passes out…


That’s a good observation SubC,. The gloves do come off pretty rapidly once the car is stopped, and sometimes get thrown to the fans.
I’m guessing that the ear bud would be competing for space with comms equipment, but its interesting that the hand would be the next best option for biometric monitoring like this.


And now I find the ear buds already contain accelerometers, I should have more faith in what can be done with miniaturisation. Or maybe these drivers have extraordinarily big ear holes…….


It’s an Apple Watch in the form of a glove!


Lovely to read a relatively positive post about an FIA initiative concerning driver safety and new technology in F1.
Just who are you, and what have you done with Todd???