Studio XO - Wearing Our Hearts on Our Sleeves

Adie Blanchard | 2014-09-09 05:08:08

Although we might be able to hide our emotions well, wearable technology has now been developed to detect and display them – so we can quite literally wear our hearts on our sleeves.

The skin holds many clues to emotions, where it has been used to indicate both physical and psychological arousal for many years. Changes in measures such as temperature, heart rate and sweat can all be detected through wearable tech to identify an emotional response.

Studio XO have created smart bracelets to detect and display emotions. They were debuted at Saatchi & Saatchi’s ‘Feel the Reel’ showcase at the Cannes Lions advertising festival.


More than 2000 audience members wore the smart bracelets, which detected the audiences’ emotional response to a series of creative ads and videos. The bracelets glowed blue, green or red depending on the emotional response and the data from the entire audience was collected and displayed in real time as ‘laser art’ next to the screen.


There are many potential uses for such technology to create a more immersive and interactive experience at events. Music is often listened to for its powerful emotional response and similar biometric bands have already been used at live music sets to detect temperature, movement and audio levels to better understand the audiences’ experience.

This type of technology can also add a new dimension to film and theatre experiences and can even be used by advertisers to see if their adverts are creating the desired response. Additionally, it could be used in market research to judge true reactions as well as in up market travel to ensure customers are receiving top quality service. It could even help teachers to identify if their students are engaged.

Capabilities could also extent to sport, to detect and display the emotions of the fans such as when goals are scored and conceded and the emotional response of the crowd during certain moments of the game.

However, as impressive as this technology may be, it also comes with some issues. I’m sure many people would be hesitant to wear one if they don’t want to share their true emotions. Not to mention how outcast someone might feel if their response is different to everyone else’s, or to what might be seen as the ‘normal’ response. In the future an individual may be able to share their data on social media, or track their emotions over time. Whilst this may provide insightful information, privacy might easily be breached too.

Personally, I think this an exciting development in the wearable tech world, not just for the individuals wearing the technology, but also for brands and artists to enhance their services and create even more incredible experiences.

Adie Blanchard – Researcher