Mobile Apps

Bentley's app builds the perfect car by analyzing your face's emotions in real time

If nothing else, Bentley Inspirator is the weirdest car configurator out there.

If you take your face away from the camera, the process will pause until your face reappears. Andrew Krok/CNET

For car enthusiasts, online configurators are a great way to kill some time -- you get to build your perfect idea of a car from scratch. Bentley's taking the whole process to a new extreme with its Inspirator app, which uses facial recognition to assemble your perfect car without asking you to make a single conscious choice.

Inspirator is a free app that uses your smartphone or tablet's front-facing camera to track your face while you watch a series of videos containing fancy, artsy things: beachside cabanas, architecture and things of that ilk. The app monitors your reactions to these images to create a car that it thinks you will enjoy. Your face dictates the resulting car's exterior and interior colors schemes, wood veneer and wheel design.

While it amounts to little more than a novelty (free-app users can't all afford Bentleys), it's interesting in that it allows technology to create experiences for people. Surely, there's an advertising executive out there, rubbing his hands together at the idea of using cameras to help monitor ad reaction toward making adjustments in how and to whom content is delivered.

Bentley Inspirator App
The app is limited to the Bentayga crossover right now, but additional models are on the way. Andrew Krok/CNET

If you'd rather not stare at a camera for a few minutes, you can treat the app like any other configurator and follow a touch-based system that also builds you a car. The app being a marketing vehicle more than anything, you can also use Bentley Inspirator to browse pictures and share your creations on social media.

Inspirator does come with some limitations. Currently, the app is only available for iOS users through the Apple App Store, so Android aficionados are stuck with Bentley's plain-Jane website. Only one car is available at the moment, as well -- Bentayga, the automaker's new crossover -- but it will expand to include the whole lineup in time.