Rekimoto Lab recently won a 2012 Good Design Award for HappinessCounter, an interesting appliance feature developed at the University of Tokyo that encourages people to smile. When using HappinessCounter, if the person opening the fridge door doesn’t smile, the fridge’s face recognition takes in the information and locks them out.
Yoshio Ishiguro, Hitomi Tsujita, and Jun Rekimoto designed the fridge lock specifically for people living alone, who don’t get to interact much with others throughout the day. The idea is to help them realize when they’re turning to food out of depression or boredom, but also to make them smile more frequently. It sounds absurd (and creepy), but even forced smiling and laughter can alter moods and lift spirits — at least, that’s what this design is counting on.
But would you feel like smiling first thing in the morning when your half and half is locked away and your coffee is getting cold? Watch a video that explains the appliance further, and shows it in action:
Via Lost at E Minor
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 15, 2012