The holiday season brings its usual overload of songs, ads, and jingles; nearly everyone we encounter exhorts us to be merry or wishes us good cheer. For some of us, positivity comes naturally and that usually shows on our faces and in our general demeanor. For people whose go-to mood is more towards the somber side of the spectrum, the holiday season can by trying if you want to try to be cheery, or at least look the part.
The creative and technology staff at the McKinney advertising agency usually work with big-name clients, but this year decided to get busy and create something on their own to help people get in, and stay in, the holiday spirit. Their creation, Jolly, isn’t actually destined for market, but it does demonstrate a clever, and somewhat ouch-y, application of biosensors and facial expression. The Santa-esque Jolly beard not only fits the season, but also conveniently conceals the circuitry, sensors, wires, and power supply. Four cheek-mounted sensors stick to your face and the program tracks the time when the cheek muscles used in smiling are not activated. When too much time passes, a slight charge (described by one tester as a “tingle”) not only reminds you to cheer up but activates the muscles to make it happen.
Jolly is not, repeat NOT, a real product, but as a seasonal demonstration project it makes the point about McKinney’s creativity and technological competence. It also may portend wearable health tech projects to come. Even the demo project’s slogan makes the point, “Jolly, spreading cheer from ear to ear, and beyond.” [Sadly, the highly amusing video that had been posted by McKinney has been taken down.]