Men who love their cars often describe their rides in feminine terms, and perhaps advancements made by Nicholas Pennycooke of the MIT Media Lab could very well usher in a new age of loving one’s vehicle in more ways than one. Nicholas claims that more emotional vehicles will be able to be more user friendly, as it can communicate its intent to humans around it. For example, if the world has advanced to such a stage where driverless cars are the norm, it might be programmed to never hit someone else on the road, but how would you know that the car has “seen” you in advance? Here is a way to know – how about dilating the LED “pupils” while swiveling its headlights to follow you while you cross the road? There is also another option of projecting a smiley face on its wind screen as an indication.

A prototype which is still far from finished did show off just how such a car might look like when complete, boasting working eye-headlights, micro-speakers that were specially designed to send narrowly focused audio messages to pedestrians and human drivers, as well as a Microsoft Kinect game sensor that is capable of detecting humans when they pass in front of the car. There is still plenty of work left to be done, but this pioneering work might just change the way conceptual vehicles look like in the future.

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