Intel's Context-Aware Computing Will Let Your Smartphone Sense Your Mood

Feeling Down?

Your smartphone feels for you. Intel is developing context-aware computing platforms that will allow devices to know what you're up to, how you're feeling about it, and what they can do to help.Jacob Bøtter via Flickr

Through its various technological bells and whistles and the apps that you're constantly updating with what you're doing there, your smartphone already knows a lot about you. But don't you wish your phone knew you a little more, you know, intimately? Intel's chief technology guru says it will, and soon. The company is working up ways to help phones connect with users on an emotional level, sensing moods and feelings and reacting accordingly.

How will your phone climb out of your pocket and into your head? Intel's CTO Justin Rattner thinks that, by combining the geolocation already standard in smartphones with data from sources (the microphone, the camera, the gyro, etc.), phones could figure out a lot more about you. For instance, gyro data could tell if you're taking an easygoing stroll or if you're rushing. Judging by time, noise levels, and even things like breathing, your phone could know if you are asleep or awake.

By logging this data, your phone could learn a lot about your routine: when you typically sleep and when you wake up, when you generally perform your morning and evening commutes, places you frequent, what news you like to read on your mobile device, or what coffee shop is your favorite. By learning how you live, it could then offer you advice, move your news apps to your home screen during your a.m. bus commute, or perhaps even notify you when that Starbucks near your office that you frequent is giving away free free non-fat half-caff lattes (because that's your favorite, and your phone knows it).

Mood-sensing phones are pure concept for now, but Rattner has suggested publicly that context-aware computing will begin to emerge in Intel products in the "not-too-distant future." The company has already demonstrated a television remote that knows who is holding it by learning how different members of a household grasp it, learning each viewer's entertainment likes and dislikes as well.

Networked with a phone that knows where you've been, what news you're already heard about, and how you're feeling, soon your TV could know if you're in the mood for Monday Night Football or a quiet night catching up on Gossip Girl. And stop trying to act like you don't like Gossip Girl. Your phone told us so.