Are you addicted to Social Media? Do you check twitter 10 times before noon? Emoji Addict will help you curb this embarassing addiction



The ambient device we have created functions to display the number of times a user visits a social media site over the course of a day. We chose to represent social media data because in some cases, the high frequency with which the average individuals check social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram would be an embarrassing number to display to others in a shared environment. For instance, if someone checks Facebook 10 times over the course of a morning, this would be an embarrassing piece of information to display.



Our ambient device functions to nudge users in the direction of positive change and productivity. Social media is not an platform modern culture typically associated with productivity. In fact, many individuals find themselves addicted to checking their social media accounts on a routine basis. This behavior distract us from our work and our lives, and in many cases fuels the addiction we have with technology today. By visualizing the number of times, we look at our social media accounts, we are forced to reflect on our behavior and make positive changes if we believe they are warranted.

We envision our ambient device on a desk in a home office or on a desk at a users workplace. Desks are a place commonly associate with productivity. Through communicating how many times a user frequents a given social media site, the user may be prompted to glance at the ambient device the next time they are feeling distracted or having trouble focusing and have the urge to check their device. 



The outcome of our design process for our ambient device makes use of the imagery and mechanism we have discussed above. It was important for this device to have a form that could be easily displayed on a desk. It needed to have a small footprint because space is often limited on a desk. The form of a clock was achieved for this prototype by using a thin sheet of wood cut into a circle of a uniform diameter. With a piece of wood to allow it stand upright in much the same form as a picture frame stand. The emojis were displayed by printing them on adhesive paper.. There are 6 emojis that we chose to display for this prototype, so our servo need to move at a degree of 30 everytime a new visit to social media was initiated.



After deciding on the data we hoped to convey with our ambient device, we explored different modes of communicating this information. We began with an initial idea of using LEDs to function as a counter. We moved away from this representation because the LEDs didn’t nudge the user to make a positive change to their behavior. We looked at motion and speeding up motion in order to communicate frequency in a more visceral manner. We found this to be distracting for the environment of a desk or office where we envisioned our device.

The team settled on the general form of a clock to communicate the information in a discrete and symbolic manner. Clocks are objects that are natural and familiar and help users navigate and allocate time. They very much have a home on our desks. In much the same way users check the clock to show a passing of time, user would check this ambient device to show a passing of time, but in the form of social media visits. We decided on using Emoji’s as visual imagery to communicate discrete instances of checking social media. Rather than using numbers as a counter, emojis abstract the data making it personal to the user. The expressions of the emojis, gradually change from happy/positive to sad/negative as the number of social media visits increase. Emoji are part of the social media lexicon so we wanted to make use of this powerful metaphor in our ambient device to communicate personal information to the user.  

int servoPin = A5;
Servo myServo;
int servoPos = 0;
int degree = 0;
void setup() {
  // attaches the servo on the A5 pin to the servo object
  myServo.attach( A5 );
  //Register our Particle to control the servo
  Particle.function("servo", servoControl);
  // Keep a cloud variable for the current position
  Particle.variable(  "servoPos" , &servoPos , INT );
  //We "Subscribe" to our IFTTT event called Button so that we get events for it
    Particle.subscribe("Tweet", myHandler);
void loop() {
  void myHandler();
  // for (int i=0; i <= 360; i++){
  //   myServo.write(degree);
  //   delay (1000);
  //   degree = degree + 60;
  //  }
  //  degree = 0;
int servoControl(String command)
    // Convert
   int newPos = command.toInt();
   // Make sure it is in the right range
   // And set the position
   servoPos = constrain( newPos, 0 , 180);
   // Set the servo
   myServo.write( servoPos );
   // done
   return 1;
//The function that handles the event from IFTTT
void myHandler(const char *event, const char *data){
  //Trigger motor to turn 60 degrees
  degree = degree + 30;
  delay (1000);
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Circuit Diagram
Emojiaddict circuit diagram
Particle Console Event Page
Particle console


We would love to expand this project to be personalized to different users based on which social media website users would like to display. Perhaps it is multiple social media websites displayed at once. It would be interesting to do user research to assess social media habits to fine tune the language of our emojis and the number of emojis to include in this ambient device. Looking at different forms of desk clocks and users interactions with these devices would be an important next step for the finalization of the aesthetic components of our device.

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49713 Designing for the Internet of Things

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A hands-on introductory course exploring the Internet of Things and connected product experiences.


Are you addicted to Social Media? Do you check twitter 10 times before noon? Emoji Addict will help you curb this embarassing addiction


February 7th, 2018