Are you old enough to remember the mood ring? That groovy ‘70s creation with a liquid crystal stone that changed color based on skin temperature and supposedly reflected your mood or attitude at the time. Mine was always the same color for some reason.
Well, Microsoft Research has one-upped the mood ring and patented the “mood shirt.” In a one-page filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Microsoft describes it as “a wearable device that conveys information to a user. The device includes a master soft circuit cell and a plurality of actuation soft circuit cells.”
These cells are physically connected and controlled by the master cell, which is configured to wirelessly receive actuation instructions and activate a combination of the actuation cells based on the actuation instructions it has received. The system also conveys affective state information to a user.
What that means is the sensors hidden in the garment read things like heart rhythm, skin temperature and physical movement to determine your mood. The actuators stimulate your nervous system with things like pressure, heat or music vibrations.
Actuators could be chosen to suit a person’s needs to create a feeling of pressure or temperature, perhaps to calm down someone having a panic attack, or play relaxing music.
The patent says, “The wearable device implementations interacts with the user’s senses in a manner than can mitigate a negative affective state, e.g. stressed or sad among others, and enhance a positive affective state, e.g. calm or happy, among others.”
But will it survive the washing machine?