While health has blurred into a score of consumer product categories, here’s the latest crossover from Toyota: the first car to engineer health and wellness into its design, recently unveiled at the 2007 Tokyo Auto Show.

The Toyota RiN is a concept car based on comfort and what Toyota’s PR calls, “serene, healthy living.” The RiN was one of 21 cars Toyota showed under the theme, “Harmonious Drive — a New Tomorrow for People and the Planet.”

This isn’t high performance; it’s high-minded health by way of Dr. Weil, wrapped up in a golf cart-cum-Popemobile.

Toyota’s press says the car’s designers were inspired by the Yakusugi cypress tree, which is deeply-rooted and tall growing. A 1000-year-old Yakusugi tree is located in Japan in a pristine region of the country frequented as a center for ecological study.

The expansive green windows are meant to encourage drivers to think about society and nature, exemplified by the design of the ceiling-to-floor sliding window-doors which allow for views of the surrounding environment at ground level.

A key health-ful design component is ergonomically designed seats that help the driver and passengers maintain good back posture (and they’re heated, too, another therapeutic feature).

For enhanced climate control, there’s also a pinpoint humidifier and an oxygen-level conditioner.

The most far-reaching (or perhaps far-fetched?) health feature is a steering wheel and image display that acts as a sort of mood-trainer (think: a mood ring crossed by a steering wheel). The driver’s emotional state is supposedly conveyed in the meter cluster on the steering wheel, shown at the right. The theory behind this feature is that the driver keys onto her mood while driving, and can employ a personal biofeedback strategy to calm herself, or get happy — whatever mood-change she wants to effect.

The Toyota RiN isn’t designed to be healthy only for the driver; the car helps oncoming traffic and pedestrians, too, because the RiN’s headlights use light distribution controls that adjust to oncoming pedestrians and vehicles, who thus avoid being blinded by the lights (ah-ha!, I anticipate the licensing of Bruce Springsteen’s song already even at this concept-car stage).

Health Populi’s Hot Points: I am intrigued by this car. This marks the early phase of auto companies incorporating health-oriented features into a car’s design. Admittedly, some aspects of the RiN might seem, well, ridiculous: leaf shaped foot pedals strike me as something I could sacrifice in the design. One car aficionado said that the RiN resembles something like a Tamagotchi virtual pet. Perhaps, but if health is the new green, then this car could be the start of a new segment of health-geared autos.

6 Comments on Health, the new green: Toyota’s RiN

The Promise of Digital Health and the Privacy Perils – HealthConsuming Explains, Part 4 | Pharma Strategic said : Guest Report 3 months ago

[…] response systems to the growing Internet of Things ecosystem for smart and connected homes and cars, an emerging third space for health that Honda, Mercedes, Toyota, et. al., are concepting, which I wrote about back in 2007 focusing on […]

HealthPopuli.com said : Guest Report 3 months ago

[…] response systems to the growing Internet of Things ecosystem for smart and connected homes and cars, an emerging third space for health that Honda, Mercedes, Toyota, et. al., are concepting, which I wrote about back in 2007 focusing on […]

HealthPopuli.com said : Guest Report 2 years ago

[…] and medical devices. And in my expansive health/care-everywhere world, even Honda and Toyota, covered ten years ago here in Health Populi, are innovating in connected cars for the […]

HealthPopuli.com said : Guest Report 3 years ago

[…] its corporate commitment to connect all of its “things” to the internet by 2020; and various car companies, some of which are piloting various aspects of health and wellness through connecting sensor-embedded steering wheels, external […]

Bradley Patete said : Guest Report 8 years ago

Most people want to be eco-friendly but for the most part at least currently sometimes going green technlogoy is not financially a good idea currently.I have looked at eco-friendlyand green technology alternatives like igo green charger and have adapted where it makes financial sense. So far I have also installed solar panels on my home but while looking for a electric car I find the cost doesnt justify it for me. While I am passionate about making green choices and opting for green technology whenever possible it is up to people like you and I to spread awareness and let the companies know there is a demand. Your website looks popular and I think you can help influence society with your insight and green technology tips. By the way I found your site by searching " Health, the new green: Toyota’s RiN | Health Populi " and you were the first result. So I think your website is a perfect platform to discuss ideas that are thought provoking to help influence your readers to go green. - Good luck with your site, you deserve all the success! Please continue to talk about more eco-tips/green tech, every idea helps us get closer day by day!

Health care where we live, play, work and pray: how Ford & Toyota’s mhealth pilots fit into Whole Health | Health Populi said : Guest Report 8 years ago

[...] to incorporate mobile health sensors into the company’s SYNC connectivity system  follows Toyota’s mhealth concept, the RiN, launched in [...]

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