Sunday 23rd October 2011
Be Wiser Insurance

A mind-reading computer programme, developed by Cambridge and MIT scientists, could help reduce car insurance premiums.

The software detects what individuals are thinking by monitoring 24 facial "feature points", allowing it to follow users expressions and make a guess at their current mood, and even whether they are agreeing or disagreeing with the computer.

"An emotionally aware computer has many commercial applications," said a professor of computer technology at the university. "Imagine a computer that could pick the right emotional moment to try to sell you something, a future where mobile phones, cars and websites could read our mind and react to our moods."

He said that the system is being altered to help improve driver’s safety. The team is already working on recording facial movements of drivers as they use their cars.

"Emotions when driving are difficult to track as they are expressed more subtly. They are not as animated as they would be for example if you were talking face to face or even on the phone," he said.

"However, if we can crack this the system would have fantastic potential to improve driver safety and prevent accidents. We are already working with a major car company and it is possible that this technology could feature in cars within five years."

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