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Rinspeed creates ‘sensitive’ concept car

Rinspeed, the Swiss car parts manufacturer, has developed a new concept that will interpret the drivers emotions.

‘Senso’, which will makes its official debut at Geneva Motor Show, decides whether it's safe for the driver to take the wheel by measuring physiological conditions such as a racing pulse, and by tracking any subtle loss of control over the vehicle caused by mood swings, fatigue or road rage.

If Senso thinks the driver should relax, it changes the colour of its interior paneling, wafts in different fragrances, and emits electronic music in order to keep the driver focused on the road.

Rinspeed's creation was designed and built in partnership with the plastics company, Bayer MaterialScience of Leverkusen. The car is an early example of a Zen approach to design that is expected to influence future generations of automobiles, its makers say.

Bayer says: “If we help the driver get into a good mood so that he's relaxed and very aware at the same time, he'll drive safely."

"The driver, and not all the little electronic helpers you have today, should be the focal point."

The car's elaborate sensory system uses a wristband to measure the driver's pulse and cameras to monitor behaviour, assessing lane changes and looking for signs of tailgating. An onboard computer analyses the data and emits pulses of "stimulating" orange and yellow, "relaxing" blue and violet, or "neutral" glowing green hues from a light-emitting fabric in the car's interior, which was designed by Bayer and another Swiss company, Lumitec.

Senso's driver and back- seat passengers cruise to the sound of a specially composed "techno" beat, and are bathed in either vanilla-mandarin or "vibrant" citrus-grapefruit scents created by perfumier CWS/Voitino. At the first sign of driver fatigue, motors in the seats shake occupants awake.

Carbon-fibre parts and a height-adjustable chassis give Senso the look of an ‘attractive industrial skyscraper’, while its modified 3.2-litre, 250-horsepower Porsche Boxster S engine runs on natural gas to move the car to a top speed of 155mph, according to the designers.

Rinspeed has built at least a dozen concept cars, including the Splash Amphibious Hydrofoil Sportscar, which can move over water at 49mph and 124mph over land.

Senso will never become production reality according to Dressen, but manufacturers are showing increasing interest in introducing greater "sensitivity" to commercial car designs, he said.

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