SmartPhones Get Smart

By | November 26, 2004

In an attempt to become more useful, US researchers are developing new smartphone software which watches users’ calling and usage patterns and tries to learn how best to “help”.

Most of today’s smartphones include calendars, to-do lists and other useful features. The new application being tested, though, attempts to learn your preferences by logging calls and noting when and where other applications, such as your camera, are used. The goal is for your phone to know our lifestyle: to know you work at location X, live at location Y and often socialize in locations A, D and F.

In addition, the phone will be aware of any phone-to-phone networking you do, which should help it know not only where you socialize, but with who you socialize.

The data can then be processed in a central location and suggestions or helpers can be issued to you via text or email.

Beyond predictive texting the phone is touted as a device that predicts what you will do. The New Scientist reports possible applications include reminding you not to drink too much the night before an important presentation. Some people might balk as the idea of being monitored – and nagged – by their personal technology. But US scientists reckon they´ve hit on a winner.

The technology is the brainchild of Nathan Eagle and Sandy Pentland of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The system is based on mobile messaging software called Context, written by developers at the University of Helsinki and Helsinki Institute of Technology led by Mika Raento. The software build a profile of user´s routine by asking them what they´re up to when they come into range of a new mobile mast.

The software is currently only available on a handful of phones, and the researchers are expecting that adoption will be swift. In the US, though, functionality is rarely the most important thing on peoples’ mind – privacy concerns and advocates have lately caused several prominent and potentially fantastic technologies to be scrapped.

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