Passively Mapping Emotional Sentiment To Better Understand Happiness

The Mood Meter is an installation helping a team at MIT better understand how environmental conditions impact happiness.

As part of MIT’s ongoing Festival of Art, Science and Technology, a team from the Affective Computing Group of the MIT Media Lab has put together a series of installations designed to track the emotional sentiment of common spaces throughout campus. Cameras at these installations capture facial expressions of passersby, recording the number of smiles over time and feeding the data to a dynamic map.

The installation team explains below:

Although smiles are not only the sign of a good mood, they can be used as one barometer of happiness. This project is intended to raise awareness of how our own smiles can positively affect the surrounding environment, and to assess how friendly MIT might appear as a community. The dynamic, real-time information may help with answers to questions such as “Do midterms lower the mood?”, “Does warmer weather lead to happiness?”, and “Are people from one department happier than others?”

The data recorded during the exhibition contains heuristics about the number of smiles, their time stamps (date and clock time) and location of occurrence. The video feed displayed at each location is never recorded or transmitted over the Internet. Thus, there is no information that would uniquely identify, track or monitor people while they participate in this exhibit.

MIT Mood Meter

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