Hyundai’s mini EV puts young hospital patients at ease

In its “Little Big e-Motion” project, Hyundai has donated a one-of-a-kind electric vehicle to the SJD Children’s Hospital in Spain to make the trip from the bed to the treatment room more fun and encouraging for young patients.

The minicar uses Emotion Adaptive Vehicle Control, “an artificial intelligence-based technology that optimizes vehicle environment based on information from both inside and outside the vehicle,” said Hyundai in its news release.

“EAVC technology monitors facial expressions, heart rate and respiratory rate, and combines these readings with input from the vehicle including speed, acceleration, noise and vibration. The technology then processes the data utilizing machine learning to optimize the vehicle environment and actively controls vehicle systems such as lighting, climate, music and fragrance dispenser.”

“We want our technology to help improve the lives of our customers in various mobility spaces beyond the roads,” said Jinmo Lee, a Hyundai senior research engineer who led the Little Big e-Motion project. “We hope the EAVC technology on the minicar will provide a fun, safe mobility experience for young patients and help improve their health outcomes.”

Hyundai posted a 6-minute short film that shows how the mini EV interacts with patients. The video follows a young girl nervous about an upcoming treatment but when she gets in the driver’s seat of the minicar, she finds her courage and feels more emotionally prepared.

Watching the video, you’ll notice the EV’s five key technologies: Facial Emotion Recognition System, Breathing Exercise Belt, Heart Rate Monitoring Sensor, Emotion Adaptive Lighting, and Emotion Adaptive Scent Dispenser.

“The Facial Emotion Recognition System uses a camera in front of the seat to identify the child’s emotions in real-time. The Breathing Exercise Belt wraps around the body and its air pockets apply gentle pressure to help relieve anxiety and enable more stable breathing, while the accelerometer, the Heart Rate Monitoring Sensor, measures the heart rate and breathing rate.

“The Emotion Adaptive Lighting displays green, yellow or red to show the child’s emotional state in colors. The Emotion Adaptive Scent Dispenser sprays fragrance timed with breathing to help put a smile on the faces of the young patients. The vehicle also blows bubbles to celebrate the child’s progress toward treatment,” explained Hyundai.

The technology in the EV also benefits the medical staff by informing them of the patient’s emotional state so they can provide more comfortable care.

“The hospital is very excited to have such technology available for kids,” said Joan Sanchez de Toledo, head of pediatric cardiology at the hospital. “This will dramatically change the way patients will face treatment.”

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