High-resolution thermal-image camera, Corian, stainless steel, electronics, and mechanical and computer components
15 3/4 x 39 3/8 x 3 1/2" (40 x 100 x 9 cm)
Reyer Zwiggelaar and Bashar Rajoub have been developing new profiling technology based on biometric data, in which a camera equipped with sensors detects changes in a person’s mood and emotion by taking thermal images of his or her face. By analyzing facial expressions, eye movements, pupil dilation, and other physiological changes, the camera may be able to predict future criminal activity. With Happylife, designers James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau have adapted this technology for keeping the peace at home. The designers added a visual display with facial-recognition software, so that the camera could differentiate between members of a family. A dial, one for each family member, registers current and predicted emotional states, based on data accumulated over the years by the machine. The designers have imagined complex scenarios in which the Happylife system might have a significant impact on a family’s life, and with writer and poet Richard M. Turley, they have created vignettes to illustrate such situations: “It was that time of the year. All of the Happylife prediction dials had spun anti-clockwise, like barometers reacting to an incoming storm. We lost David 4 years ago and the system was anticipating our coming sadness. We found this strangely comforting.” The designers hope to install the system prototype in an actual family’s home to further their research.