Visualizing the Driver

Toyota is using data visualization to see the driver within the car in their new Prius commercial.

In the latest Prius commercial, Toyota created a visualization of a stunt driver's biometric data — including her pulse rate, skin conductivity (which corelates with anxiety), received G-forces, and blood oxygen level — by connecting an LED antenna outside the Prius to wearable sensors on the driver. The antenna displays information by changing the colors and illumination of the LEDs in realtime.

A video was recorded of the driver guiding the Prius around the warehouse, and post-processing of the video allows the LED antenna to leave behind a trail of light — visualizing the driver's biometric state over time.

Car advertisers have long used voiceovers to explain how the driver feels when behind the wheel in advertising. This commercial, however, shows the viewer directly. The result shows a composition of light that appears much more like the Aurora Borealis than a readable data visualization.