Broadcasting our mood or state of mind by means of posture and other body language has been a communicative function since long before speech and the transmission of ‘information’. It is not surprising then, that technology is being used to broadcast mood farther than our immediate vicinity
Printing started communicating the mood of the writer to wider audiences, the phone started it for the masses and we can see a clear line from there through to the internet and facilities like Twitter. Arguably, it is not possible to transmit information without also communicating the originator’s state of mind – otherwise you are transmitting data. For example, what do you sense of my [Ed. Steve] mood while writing this? And will your perception be accurate?
But there has also been a recent trend to design ‘things’ (I have to categorise them as broadly as that) which are meant to broadcast the owner’s mood/state of mind/wellbeing, both consciously and unconsciously.
Here is a brief round up:
- MoodMill (A ‘social mood management website’ not dissimilar to Twitter)
- Dress that changes colour to reflect your mood
- Nail polish changes with your mood
- Furniture changes color to match your mood
- The dancing cellphone
- Sidekick Studios Buddy
The last positions itself in the ambit of ‘telecare’ because of the expectation that someone will be monitoring the output of the system so that there is a response when a deterioration in wellbeing is detected. And perhaps that tells us more clearly than anything that monitoring and response are at the heart of the definition of ‘telecare’.
The converse of the mood transmitting devices are receptor devices:
Smart textiles evoke memories of absent people (“if a patient’s clothes detected that the person was upset, for instance, they could deliver comforting messages from family members”)