Experiment 3 – Emotions of Internet – Yiyi Shao


Check out the website here!

Project Description

Internet created a cyber world for people to live a second life, which also created a space for people to express their emotions and feelings, especially through social media. If we see internet as a huge container, it is gathering every users’ emotions in every second. If you ever wondered how everyone in this world is feeling right now, this project will give you the answer. It reads particular emotional hashtags from twitter. When most people tweet about sad, it will draw random blue eclipse in the website canvas and light up an cloudy led which presents a teardrop coming from the “internet container”. When most people tweet about happy, it will draw pink rectangle instead and turn off the led. In this project, I considered the interactions and relationships not only between human and computers but also between physical world and cyber world. Every users are participating in the interactions and be part of this project. It also complete the transformation of emotions from physical human feeling to digital form of hashtag and come back as a whole in physical form of a tear drop and visualisation in the website. This world is bitter-sweet, there must be some points in your life that in a really bad mood, but so does everyone else! Hope next second you will be happy again.

About Me 

Yiyi Shao is a digital artist from China and interested in interaction design, motion graphics and VR. She is doing her Mdes in OCAD University and very passionated about the combination of cool technology and arts.

Project Journey

Day 1

We were given a new assignment today about Peripheral Experiment, I always want to explore new type of technology to create project. So my aim for this experiment is to go as far as I can to experience something that I never tried before.

After some research, I found there is a really cool levitation system which can work with arduino. So I came up with an idea of using wind speed data from weather API to control the floating plant.

Inspirations and examples online:







Here is my sketch:


How it will work:


image source:


Feather board will connect to one hall effect sensor, one solenoid with electronic current and one small fan (external force to make plant spin). A website will read weather API of the wind speed and transfer the data to feather board.

My attempt process:





Although I successfully made the electromagnetism, but it never levitate metal or any magnets I got. I don’t have device to measure the magnetic force to let them stay in a balance, so I have to switch to another more practical idea.

P.S: Don’t use your hand to touch the electromagnetic object, it will make you sick…

Day 2

I switch my idea to use water pump and DC driver. Water is a very interesting material to work with, it’s flexible and capable with lots of sensors, so I camp up two ideas as following:

Idea 1: Still working with weather API, but not sure which types of data to use, maybe the the possibility of rain.

Idea 2: Completely change my input, using twitter service in IFTTT. Every time people tweet something about sad, the water will drop.

I really like the second idea and I think it’s brilliant, so I decide to keep going in that way and I literally ran to Creatron to buy the stuffs I would need (A 12V liquid pump, 5V driver, 12v power supply with wire).

My new sketch:


How it will work:

When people tweet with “#sad”, IFTTT will send a trigger to Adafruit IO then pass it to P5.js, and finally through SerialControl to turn on the DC driver which will eventually make the pump to drop water.

Fritzing diagram:




My first attempt create an absolutely disaster and split water every where on the table,which almost destroyed my laptop and feather board.img_7158

But finally the water pump works!


Day 3

Today I am working on the IFTTT and p5.js. I have set up my IFTTT recipe to get data from twitter and send message to Adafruit IO. I change the message from “On” to “1”, which is more easy to use. Then I used the class example to test on the LED light. After the meeting with Kate, I realised there will be a problem for this project. Every second there will be at least 15 tweets about sad and my output will be always on. I would need to make a threshold or counter to set a critical value. For example, every 5 seconds, if there are more than 100 tweets about “#sad”, then my output will be triggered.



Well, I spent my rest of day try to figure out the logistic flow but no luck. So I move to build my container to which will hold everything inside including a small container with water, DC driver, water pump and feather board.



Day 4

I talked to Feng today about the timer and counter function, she suggested me to use a function called setInterval, which will trigger a function in a certain period of time. But the difficult part is, every time after a counter called, it must go back to zero and count again. So the logistic is, the counter  need to count and save the incoming data inside an empty array, and then this array will be empty in a particular period of time by using setInterval.

This part confused me a lot and I never get it right. I even asked my friend from Computer & Science for help, we spent 5 hours to work on the counter and timer function and finally make it slightly work. However it didn’t turn out to be the in the right effect as I expected.



At this stage, I don’t have many time left to finish this project. And another idea just pop up into my mind which just saved my life. All I want is a “0” to turn off my output, why not just add it from my input? This world can’t be sad all the time, there must be happy somewhere right?


screen-shot-2017-11-13-at-00-21-49 screen-shot-2017-11-13-at-00-22-06


After I add the happy feed to IFTTT, everything works normally now! I finally tested my LED, and it can be turn on and off based on the input from IFTTT and Adafruit IO. I was so excited and quickly replace the LED with water pump and DC driver, after I uploaded the code(wrong one, it’s actually the code for LED) to Feather board I heard weird sound coming from water pump and it eventually burned and can’t function anymore. I googled online and then realised the motor is really sensitive can easily get burned. It is also risky to use 5V motor to work with 3V Feather board. It’s the last night, So I have to alter the idea of using LED in the end.

Reflections and Evaluations


I tried and learnt lots of new things and went out off my comfy zone in this experiment, it challenged my personal abilities. The whole process aligned with the main concept of this project, which is sad but also happy. The sad part is that it didn’t turn out as what I expected for the final result, but for the happy part is that I tried my best and learned a lot as I said before.

For the future of this project, It definitely has a lot to improve. I would like to make the water pump work, and I think I will also keep the LED part. The visualisation can be even more tie in with the sad and happy concept, maybe the contents of each tweet can be also placed in the website. It would be also great to work with Kylie’s plants project like what Max said in the class. The tear of Internet can water a plant and give its life, it reminds me a quote which is saying “Without rains, nothing grows”. The concept can definitely develop more like more considerations of how to prevent the plant to be too dry or too drowned.

My code is available at Github.

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