• By Sin Mei C
  • July 10, 2014

Mission (Im)possible: Lights that listen to your mood

Affective computing, emotion-aware machines, ambient sensing, … All words that get thrown around alot these days, but what do they really mean? Three Argus Labs employees set out to create a clear and fun example of what these could look like in a one-evening coding session. Check out our lights that listen for the office mood.

Project #YesHueCan


Place: Argus Labs HQ, Antwerp, Belgium
Team: Ben, Roel and David
Gear: A Raspberry Pi, a Wolfson Audio Card and Philips Hue starter pack (containing a bridge and two lightstrips)
Goal: Lights that listen to your mood

Phase One

Philips Hue was a breeze to set up: connect the bridge to our LAN and power it and the strips up. We then wrote a small Ruby wrapper around their API with functions to alter the strips’ colors, complete with fade in/out transitions before the actual change.

OpenEAR, the open source emotion and affect recognition toolkit, was our affect recognition software of choice for the evening. We set it up to analyse what we’re talking about in the office, and mapped the resulting affects to a color. This color is then sent to the Philips Hue using our wrapper.

Our current choice of hue:

class AffectMapper
def self.color(affect)
case affect
when 'aggressiv'
return 1
when 'cheerful'
return 40000
when 'intoxicated'
return 10000
when 'nervous'
return 35000
when 'neutral'
return 65535
when 'tired'
return 20000


Two shiny led strips that immerse the room in a colourful glow matching what we’re saying, and how we’re saying it:

Hue Mood Hack (twee)

Argus Labs Mood


The next step is to get this running on the Raspberry Pi using the microphone on the Wolfson Audio Card, so we can install this in our lounge for permanent ambient lighting without requiring a laptop.

Once we have this persistent setup in place, we can extend the functionality of our hack. Throwing a few extra lightstrips into the mix, influencing their colours based on what we’re saying on HipChat or what music we’re listening to, and much more when we’re feeling adventurous.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates.

You have Successfully Subscribed!