If you're looking for a pick-me-up and live in LA, I highly recommend swinging over to the MOCA Pacific Design Center to check out an exhibit dedicated the pursuit of happiness.
Graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister's The Happy Show playfully weaves typography, video and music, and interactive displays into a carnival of experience that had us smiling from start to finish (Andrew Kim has an excellent opening night roundup). One of my favorites from the show was a cityscape of words connected to a camera; the facial-recognition camera could register when you'd smile, rewarding your warmest feelings with an illuminated message. (video above)
Similar in spirit and interaction between people and machine, We Are Matik’s “Smile-Bot” was designed with the concept of happiness at the heart of its existence. The 7 feet tall, 4 foot wide friendly-looking wooden robot is equipped with a custom application and Arduino hardware within, connected to four cameras mounted inside the Smile-bot to monitor faces for smiles peeking within (it's been programmed with a custom "smile detecting algorithm"!). It's all quite an endearing display, with a color changing RGB LED spectrum registering the participant’s smile from the outside while a colorful rainbow emerges across the miniature world inside.
(Images: We Are Matik/Vine via Gregory Han)
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