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Microsoft develops smart elevator that predicts who's getting on

The concept design learns the habits of users and could be used to predict which floor you wish to travel to.

Image: Bloomberg

IMAGINE AN ELEVATOR that can both tell you’re going to use it or even predict the floor you want to travel to.

It mightn’t be happening any time soon but it’s one of the projects Microsoft’s research department is currently working on.

Using a Microsoft Kinect camera positioned in the ceiling, the elevator tracked the behaviour of people who got on the elevator and those who bypassed it on their way to a nearby cafeteria.

By doing this, it taught itself to identify the behaviours of those who wanted to board an elevator and those who didn’t.

Once its training period was completed, the learning portion was turned off and the system was used to control the elevator and act on the user’s behalf. It would regularly predict the people who want to take the elevator and act on their behalf.

In an interview with Bloomberg, the Head of Microsoft Research Peter Lee offered an example of how the technology could be used.

If your environment knows, for example, that it’s lunch time, that you had spoken yesterday about having lunch with a colleague on the second floor, and that it notices that you seem to be now leaving your office to go to the elevator, the elevator can be smart enough to take you, without your need to operate anything, to your colleague.

The team behind the project have begun a second phase of the project, this time experimenting with human-like interactions between elevators and the people riding them.

Microsoft Research have worked on a number of similar projects in recent times such as a speech translator that repeats what you said in a different language, and its own smart contact lens back in 2011, similar to what Google is currently working on.


(Video: MicrosoftResearch/YouTube)

Read: Microsoft looking to hire 95 people in Ireland >

Read: Microsoft sells more than 2 million Xbox One consoles in 18 days >

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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