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Surprising Science

Emotionally Sensitive G.P.S.

There can be few drivers who have not wanted to hurl a G.P.S. system out of the window when it guides the car into a traffic jam. Will new emotionally sensitive systems help?

Navigation devices in the future could be smart enough to know when they have upset the driver and react accordingly. Prof Peter Robinson, head of emotional robotics at Cambridge University, is working on devising a generation of smart computers which will be able to detect and react to users’ moods. One application could be in a satnav systems which could use the technology to display some sympathy with a driver’s state of mind and react accordingly. “I love gadgets like GPS satellite navigation systems but I hate the fact they are so difficult to use, I think they were designed by sadists,” he said.


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