WEB ARE YOU? • Networked Emoticon Device • May 2005

What is it?

It's a networked emoticon device. You log onto it through the Internet and let your other significant at home know if something at work or at school has made you happy, sad, so-so, or upset.

And how does it work?

Ideally there are two devices even though one device can work fine. You set one up at home somewhere where it can be seen by any of your family members and plug it to your home network. Set the other one at your office location and plug it to your office LAN. At any given time during the day, press one of the icons and your home device will reflect your current mood state sharing it with your other significant or a family member. If there is only one home device, it can be accessed through a regular webpage or cell phone.

Where did the idea come from?

Some times you would like to know how your partner is doing during the day and vice versa, especially if you spend most of your day out at work. The main idea is to use a communication channel that doesn't require an immediate response from the other part. In no way it has to be a synchronous or real-time type of communication and it's not conceived as a vehicle for critical or emergency messages where phones or email should take over. It's more of a company or presence; communication is there but in a very subtle way. It's a reminder once in a while during the day of each other's delayed mood state. Like a snapshot that shows a smiling family member even though that state might not have an up-to-the-last-second update but obviously not as static.

So what's going on behind the scenes?

The devices are connected to the Internet through an Xport controlled by a Microchip that handles the basic communications. A series of switches reciprocally activate four LEDs that light the transparent emoticons. Either device is accessible on the web through its proprietary IP address meaning it can also be reached from a web page or through a cell phone.

Featured in: