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Car tech sees what you miss

Denso demonstrates technology at the 2007 Tokyo auto show that monitors drivers' gazes.

Denso gaze monitoring simulator
The green eye on the screen shows where you are looking. CNET Networks

At the 2007 Tokyo auto show, automotive equipment maker Denso demonstrated technology for cars that monitors a driver's gaze. The system uses a camera to scan the driver's face and will continuously monitor where the driver is looking. The technology also employs cameras to monitor the car's surroundings, and will alert the driver to anything significant he or she might have missed. For example, if you are looking off to the right, and a kid runs into the street from the left, the car can alert you, or even hit the brakes. Denso's technology can also read road signs, and might warn you or slow the car down if you miss a speed limit sign.

Denso simulator
Denso's simulator demonstrates various car technologies. CNET Networks

We sat in Denso simulator at the show and let the camera scan our face. It was a unique experience watching the green focal point on the monitor move across the screen as we turn our head, or even just moved our eyes from side to side. From this practical demonstration, it looks like Denso has some workable technology.

The simulator also demonstrated a new kind of adaptive headlight. Current adaptive headlights turn the lights when the steering wheel is turned, illuminating curves in the road. Denso integrated input from GPS, so the car's headlights can actually anticipate upcoming turns, illuminating the corner before you can even turn the wheel. This technology could help drivers out on dark and stormy nights, as they could follow their headlights in a turn.