Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

Scroll to top




It is common for people to express themselves through social media, but when emotional states are expressed, the perception of ‘real’ feelings often diverge from what is stated. This project uses this often unintentional obfuscation as a ‘site’ for a series of interventions on the body, and in space.A user’s emotional state is not a simple thing to identify. Context is critical in understanding the data gathered. EMO takes biometric data, but triangulates this against data gathered from a cities’ social media feeds, so that social, political and metrological conditions can be taken into account when assessing an emotional condition.

The project is fragmented into a series of remote, deployable agents; wearables and handheld sensors, as well as a fully immersive physical installation. The remote agents pick up biometric data, reading emotional response within a participant of the project, this is hidden from the occupant, but the emotion triggers an infrared output from the wearable, impossible to see by the naked eye, but visible by mobile phone. The second part of the work is a fully interactive installation that responds locally via LED’s so that a user is fully immersed in the positive feedback loop of their own emotions and that of a host city, a moment of revelation. There are over three hundred LEDs and IR receivers placed in the installation that detect emotional change, whilst coloured light projections indicate the mood of social media feeds.

The cross-relationships of the project serve as an embodiment of the emotional states of the body and city. We want, for a moment, for a user to be discreetly aware of the emotional condition of themselves and people around them. So, we invite users to take off disguises, step inside EMO and meet your true self and the city around you.


Biometric sensors on EMO

Three types of EMO
(Figure by the author and the collaborators, 2018)

Photos by: Christopher Noelle(2018) in Ars Electronica Festival, 2018


  1. Benoit Maubrey (2014)Audio Ballerinas
  2. Barrett, L. (2017). How Emotions Are Made. UK: Macmillan, pp.29-102.PsycholoGenie. (2018).
  3. Mura, G. (2008). Wearable technologies for emotion communication. pp.153-161.
  4. Philips Design (2006)Skin Probe
  5. Picard, R. W(2000). Affective computing. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
  6. Picard, R. W and Healey, J. (1997). Affective Wearables. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Sep. 2018].
  7. Robert M. Sapolsky. (2017) Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst. Penguin Press


Sponsored by