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Using emotions to access products

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Last year I wrote about an innovative event taking place in Sweden.  An art gallery was hosting an exhibition, but they were keen on selling the works to those who really showed some love for the art.

The project was launched by Kost Boda, a Stockholm based gallery, in an attempt to connect the emotional attachment of visitors to the art, and subsequent purchases.

The project, known asAn Auction Based on Emotions, is dedicated to art made of glass.  It features an invitation only event whereby participants were asked to attend an auction of three pieces of art, albeit an auction with a twist, as no money would exchange hands.  Indeed, the pieces of art were not even on public display for people to view at their leisure.

Instead, each individual was taken into a private viewing booth.  From there, they were connected to GSR sensors and heart-rate monitors, before each piece of art was unveiled for just 60 seconds for their private viewing.  The emotional response of each person was recorded, and a value assigned to it based upon the intensity of their emotional response.  This emotional response then formed the basis of their ‘bid’ for the work, and the person with the highest emotional ‘bid’ would walk home with that work of art.

Emotional response to a book cover

A similar idea has recently emerged, but this time with a book cover.  Thijs Biersteker of the digital company Moore has created a book jacket that will only open if the reader displays the right facial expression.

The challenge is that the secret key is actually to show no emotion at all!

The device is fitted with a camera and face recognition system that will scan the face of each reader.  You’ll only gain access to the Art Directors Club Netherlands annual if your expression is a neutral one.

“My aim was to create a book cover that is human and approachable hi-tech. If you approach the book, if you’re overexcited or your face shows a sceptical expression, the book will stay locked,” Biersteker explains.

“But if your expression is neutral (no judgment) the system will send an audio pulse and the book will unlock itself. I often worry about my scepticism and judgement getting in the way of my amazement. Judgment should never hinder the relentless enthusiasm of seeing things for the first time.”

Whilst it’s an interesting approach, and certainly innovative, it’s one of those projects for which I can’t really see the point.  It’s one thing to have an emotional attachment to art, but to only gain access to a book if you show no emotion at all seems a little pointless to me.

It’s certainly an interesting concept however, and one that, assuming the costs are reasonable, may well be making its way to a much wider array of books in future.

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