The door that opens when you smile, 2017


This Door only opens when you smile at it. Exploring the relationship between emotional expression and cognitive computing.

The ‘smiling door’ began with curiosity on how the internal space could reflect on the mood of its users, and this door was proposed as a one of its experiment. Door is a symbolic feature of the control which has only two binary states of either open or close. Built as a statement, focus of this project is to provide the audience an experience of what it feels like to have your emotions read and controlled by the computer. 


Featured on Fast Company design : by Katharine Schwab


While developing the project and testing out the door, I have noticed that being forced to smile made some users uncomfortable. But instead of tweaking the interface to make the smile more like a “button” that users could smile once to push the door open. I actually lengthened the time it took for the door to open and the user had to stay smiling until the door was fully opened.

This intentionally compounded the feeling of awkwardness–and drew attention to the fact that the machine is analysing the user’s expression.

The project uses computer-vision to regonise the landmarks of the face and the machine learning(AI)  analyses the facial expression of the participants, decides whether there is a smile or not and if smile is detected it opens the door.

The video of the project was shared on Twitter and has brought various negative reflection despite being clearly stated that the project was developed as a symbolic representation and not as a commercial product.

Majority of the re-tweets and comments were upset, concerned with the feeling of disempowerment and threatened by the automated object.