Chorus is a digital system that visualizes an individual’s emotions without violating their private life.
Chorus is a prospective project developed for the “Make it Wearable” challenge. Chorus is a device that detects and shares your emotional state with you. Chorus is placed on your forehead, analyzing your brainwaves and heart rate. The device analyzes the data and indicates your main emotional state via a light signal. The data collected is displayed on a digital platform allowing the user to observe the evolution of his or her emotional state in a respectful way. The purpose of this concept is to promote understanding of social interactions, contextualize emotional states and eventually to offer a non-aggressive way to visualize sensitive data. The Chorus project won the 2014 Visionary Track award presented by Intel in San Francisco.
DESIGNING FOR EMOTIONS
There is no social intelligence without empathy
In the 21st century, we have access to all kinds of information but have simultaneously emotionally distanced ourselves from that information and, as a result, our fellow human beings. From this perspective, it is necessary to improve our emotional intelligence, as individuals and as a group, in order to favor empathy. There is no social intelligence without empathy. The upkeep and growth of our society as a whole requires it.
Visualizing our everyday feelings will enable major changes to occur in sectors where social interactions are primordial. A teacher will immediately see when his class is bored, and he will also get a glimpse into how his students build relationships as a group. A hospital staffer could manage her patients’ wellness both physically and emotionally.
Finding a relevant framework for emotions was a major challenge since we needed a framework that could be used for visualization. We finally picked the Plutchik’s wheel of emotions which is one of the most influential classification approaches for general emotional responses.
We started to understand the model on a graphical way, reorganizing information in order to create a visualization system that could support our goal.
VISUALIZING WITHOUT BETRAYING
Eventually the user will be able to browse and search for accurate answers but overall he will contemplate the slow drift of past emotions
The concept of mapping out emotional data while still respecting the individual’s right to privacy might appear paradoxical, but the whole project was inspired by the idea that personal data will be a key resource in the near future and finding new ways to work with it without jeopardizing human rights is essential.
While working on this project, we took inspiration from natural behavior such as fluid mechanics. From there, our visualization statement was fairly clear:
Each recorded emotion is represented by a drop, this drop has fluid properties inspired by emotion: negative emotions will be more dense, positive emotions will be more soluble. The drop forming a circle will produced a gradient composed from recorded emotions.
One by one, the drops will fall to the middle of a canvas. Therefore all fluids will have to work together in terms of solubility, as they are either incorporated into or rejected from the design, creating a never-ending visualization of emotions and providing us with meaningful maps.
Eventually the user will be able to browse and search for accurate answers but overall he will contemplate the slow drift of past emotions.
We conceived an experience testing out the fluid mechanisms. From the many iterations we made this one by mapping the produced gradients on different streams. The following video is more to be considered as an aesthetic research than a truly functional visualization.