Studio Notes: Mood Watch Reveals Mystery of Your Many Colors

Back in the Stone Age…

Remember mood rings in the 1970s? A couple New York inventors made stones out of a clear lens and thermochromic liquid crystals. The finished cabochon, mounted in a ring, would change color depending on the temperature of your skin. Black supposedly meant you were ready to kill, pink indicated you were happy. These 50-year-old novelty items are still being made — Fire Mountain Gems carries them in acrylic.

Today’s MIT version

Recently, Pascal Budner, Joscha Eirich and Peter A. Gloor of MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence turned a Pebble smartwatch into a mood reading machine. Their free app tracks amazing things such as your activity, heart rate, and amount of light in your environment. It also takes into account GPS coordinates to indicate where you are, weather data, humidity and the day of the week.

Your next step is to train the smartwatch by manually entering feedback on how you feel in a variety of situations, including where you are, and kinds of friends you are with. The app soaks up your information and through the use of algorithms, can eventually predict your mood with an accuracy of up to 94 percent. You can also share and receive mood information from other happimeter wearers. Kind of like a digital lie detector attached to a billboard.

The future for you

I’m betting that someday all of this technology will become so miniaturized you’ll be able to put it into your own handmade jewelry.

Don’t most people know how they feel?

I ask this question to Peter Gloor.
Not exactly, Gloor indicates.
“For example, two weeks ago I was in Bangkok, and I thought I was very happy when I arrived in the hotel, after a 30-hour trip from Boston,” he says. “Then my happimeter told me that I was unhappy and stressed. I then realized this was because my body was tired and exhausted, so instead of engaging into a heavy meeting schedule right away, I decided to take it easy the first two days. And indeed, my happiness went up very quickly.”

If everybody had a “mood” watch, what would happen?

“We would be nicer to each other, because we would learn about whom we make happy and unhappy. This means that interpersonal interaction would reach a higher quality level, as I might realize that the person I am interacting with right now is radiating negative energy.”


Betsy Lehndorff has been writing for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 2010. Her story on Colorado diamonds appears in the September-October issue and she will be writing about her experience in Kate Wolf’s class in 2018, along with her grant-writing adventures as a silversmith. You can reach her at