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CC++ Distinguished Car Series

Mr. Michael Robinson, Chief Designer, Fiat, "The Comprehension Shift"

Tuesday, February 26, 2002, 1:00-3:00 PM EST

Bartos Theatre, MIT Media Lab (E15)

CC++ special interest group

Automobiles are facing an alarming increase of complexity, requiring interface designers to widen their knowledge base to include more of the H part of HMI. Unfortunately, victims of driver distraction don't simply get frustrated: they die, in hundreds of thousands of crashes every year. Technical or rational comprehension schemes can no longer handle the complexity gap and must give way to more complex emotional comprehension in order to regain control over future automobiles. New Human-to-Human Interface references are offering interesting opportunities in first reducing and finally eliminating traffic accidents with emotional computing, allowing our cars to recognize and adapt to our ever-changing moods. But these advanced HMI studies simply point out how little the man-on-the-street really understands about his own emotional potential. The more we learn about how the human brain works, the more we can apply this knowledge to our surroundings, by humanizing not only products, but also corporations, schools, even humans.

Michael Robinson graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in industrial design and fine arts. He has worked as a car designer in Torino, Italy for over 22 years and after 5 years as design director at Lancia, has recently been nominated as chief designer at Fiat.

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