This Lamp Reads Your Mood

May 29, 2013 | Kyle Chayka

There’s a small lamp made by Milan-based web designer Vittorio Cucolo currently on view at the New Museum’s exhibition “Adhocracy.” It’s nice. But it isn’t just a nice lamp — this inexpensive IKEA Lampan has been transformed to accurately access your mood and change the color of its light based completely on your facial expression, in real time.

This mildly creepy effect is achieved by the use of a simple Arduino microcontroller, a few LED lights and some well-executed programming knowledge. What’s interesting how this information is both calculated and represented: Each colored LED corresponds to one of three primary emotional responses — pleasure, arousal, or dominance. It’s all based on the concept of  “nonverbal communication,” as previously researched by Charles Darwin and Albert Mehrabian. The small microcontroller is linked to a camera which tracks 76 “landmarks” on the face, each of which assists in determining the viewers/users overall mood.

If this has sparked your interest, Cucolo has spoken about the project in much greater depth on his website (Images: IKEA/ArtInfo)