Saturday, January 28, 2017

I love you my dear car!

Going by tech trends you will soon be able to have emotional relationships with your cars. Yes, in the future everything will have a relationship with everything. Cars with people. Beds with thermostats. Washing machines with smarthome devices like Amazon Echo.

The Faraday Future FF 91, a family-sized electric vehicle with the acceleration of a Formula 1 car and a “brain” that will apparently be capable of learning from its driver, was unveiled at a media event recently, before Toyota and Honda took the concept of an intelligent car even further.

Toyota showed off its “Concept-i” concept car, which it described as: “More than a machine. It will become our friend”.

The Concept-i has an advanced artificial intelligence system called “Yui”. Yui is like a faithful dog, or a needy boyfriend.

“Yui learns from us, grows from us, builds a relationship that’s meaningful and emotional,” Bob Carter, Toyota’s senior vice-president of automotive operations, was quoted as saying in The Guardian.

Yui can tell when the driver is happy or sad and adjust the mood inside the car accordingly. It can even limit driving speed if its driver is feeling particularly sad.

Honda showed that it is chasing the same relationship goals by unveiling its NeuV car. In the future Honda vehicles will “enable machines to artificially generate their own emotions”, the company said.

Executives said the race to develop emotional vehicles was important because in the future – probably a long time in the future – all cars will drive themselves. What customers will seek then, car companies believe, is which car they can have the best relationship with.


But the tech developments are not confined to cars alone. But most of the digital relationships are more sedate. The Sleep Number 360 bed reacts to a person’s sleeping position during the night, and claims to be able to prevent snoring. The LG Hub Robot – an Amazon Echo competitor – can interact with a fridge, washing machine, vacuum cleaner and oven. Interactivity is everywhere.

There are already countless electronic devices that connect and report data to smartphones – activity trackers being the most obvious example

Take the Onvi Prophix toothbrush. It has a camera that streams live video to a smartphone app, enabling the user to see inside their mouth as they are brushing.

The video toothbrush comes with four different heads including a model for “people with crooked teeth". The Prophix is due to go on sale later in the year, priced at $399 (£322), which is a lot of money for a toothbrush.

The launch of the “world’s first smart hairbrush” also drew attention. The “K√©rastase hair coach powered by Withings” has a microphone that listens as you brush your hair, “providing insights into manageability, frizziness, dryness, split-ends and breakage”. It goes on sale in mid-2017 and will cost $200.

Then there is Jyro, a one-wheeled gyroscopic skateboard and “the world’s most advanced massage chair” apart from the PowerRay, the underwater drone that will detect and take footage of fish, and controlled by VR goggles.

The future never looked so exciting.

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