Hyundai Unveils Mini ‘45’ For Sick Kids; Showcases Future Tech
Hyundai in a new video has unveiled a Mini ‘45’ built for use in a Barcelona children’s hospital. It’s an amazingly touching story on how a one-of-a-kind vehicle can be used for helping sick kids.
The Mini ‘45’ uses Emotion Adaptive Vehicle Control (EAVC) technology to support young patients at the hospital in Spain as part of the ‘”Little Big e-Motion” project. Watch the video below to see all that it can do for scared little children. Then, keep reading to see what this act of charity is going to do for Hyundai moving forward.
Emotion Adaptive Vehicle Control is an artificial intelligence-based technology that adapts the vehicle environment based on both inside and outside information. Hyundai is leading the development of this next-generation technology, as part of a research collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab.
The MIT Media Lab (and MIT in general) has been doing some amazing things in the automotive space. The automotive press group I used to be president of, the New England Motor Press Association, does an annual seminar at MIT including some interesting presentations on autonomous driving as covered by Torque News’ John Goreham.
The EAVC technology monitors facial expressions, heart rate and respiratory rate, and combines these readings with input from the vehicle including speed, acceleration, noise and vibration. The technology then processes the data using machine learning to optimize the vehicle environment and actively controls vehicle systems such as lighting, climate, music and fragrance dispenser.
Just imagine the possibilities. Goodbye road rage! Adios falling asleep at the wheel! Get rid of that smell dads like to produce after eating Mexican food. Peace will be restored to the family vehicle.
How The Mini 45 Helps Kids
Equipped with this technology, the mini EV – designed by the same team that oversaw the ‘45’ concept – will be used to support the treatment of young patients at hospitals. Hyundai donated this one-of-a-kind EV to SJD hospital in Barcelona where it will be used to support the mobility of young patients from hospital bed to treatment room, which is considered one of the most stressful trips for the children. (Adults, too.)
The Hyundai 45 is a concept electric vehicle that is a strong inspiration for the upcoming Ioniq 5 that will be introduced in 2021.
The EAVC-equipped mini EV interacts with its young ‘driver’ through five key technologies: Facial Emotion Recognition System, Breathing Exercise Belt, Heart Rate Monitoring Sensor, Emotion Adaptive Lighting, and Emotion Adaptive Scent Dispenser.
The Facial Emotion Recognition System uses a camera in front of the seat to identify the child’s emotions in real-time. The Breathing Exercise Belt wraps around the body and its air pockets apply gentle pressure to help relieve anxiety and enable more stable breathing, while the accelerometer, the Heart Rate Monitoring Sensor, measures the heart rate and breathing rate.
The Emotion Adaptive Lighting displays green, yellow or red to show the child’s emotional state in colors. The Emotion Adaptive Scent Dispenser sprays fragrance timed with breathing to help put a smile on the faces of the young patients. The vehicle also blows bubbles to celebrate the child’s progress toward treatment.
In addition to providing emotional support for the young patients, EAVC also assists the work of the medical staff at the hospital by informing them about the emotional state of the young patients without in-person interactions, which is especially useful in the era of COVID-19.
Adapting This Tech
How do you think this technology should be used in the real world? Which of the technologies do you think we will see first?
As one commenter said on Hyundai’s YouTube page: “One of the future mobility technologies applied to Little Big e-Motion is the ability to curate music through emotional recognition technology. If there is a function that curates appropriate music according to the user's emotional state, I think it will be loved by adults beyond children :).”
Keith Griffin covers Hyundai and Kia at Torque News. He has been writing continuously about cars since 2002. Keith used to be a researcher/writer for US News & World Report, as well as numerous car sites, including Carfax and Car Gurus, and a contributor to The Boston Globe. Most recently, Keith was the managing editor for American Business Media. Follow Keith at @indepthauto on Twitter, on @LinkedIn and on his Indepth Auto Facebook page.