From “I see you” or “I observe you” with a strong negative connotation, to “I feel you” – the sensitive city monitors, reflects and reacts to the emotions of its citizens. The goal of this project was to create a new urban environment that can detect emotions and help people in the risk of depression, but also to sensitize people to the emotions of others.

Also, if the term smart city means the city that possess human intelligence, we can talk about emotionally smart city, referring to the emotional intelligence – the human ability to recognize and understand emotional state of the other person.
 Using face recognition technology, we are able to detect the most fundamental human emotions based on facial expressions. According to the research of psychologists, in particular professor Paul Ekman who was a pioneer in the field of research on human emotions, we can detect 5 basic human emotions such as: fear, anger, enjoyment, disgust and sadness, which are universal among various cultures and races.

In our project, city is storing long term data about the emotions of its citizens that can allow to identify and provide help to people in the risk of depression. Also, currently felt emotions are displayed on the floor to draw people’s attention to emotions felt by them and others. This solution is possible using a digital carpet with built-in pressure sensors. Colored footprint that people leave behind and disappears after a few steps is an analogy to emotions expressed on the face – both visible and hidden in a way.

 Collecting data about emotions should only take place with the awareness of people participating in this process and only with the aim of helping them or drawing attention to the problems of today’s society. For this reason, project can be applied in any urban space that is open for public use and well exposed. This project can also play an educational role used by children and adults. Taking part in it does not require individual involvement of citizens. The project should be run and operated by the city council due to the high sensitivity of the data used, without any private entities involved.

With the use of sophisticated technology, we were able to provide improvement to the city by focusing on its citizens and their emotional states. The project is also an example of the positive use of data collected using facial recognition technology without violating the privacy of people.

I feel you is a project of EYES OF THE CITY of IaaC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at Master in City and Technology in (2018/2019) by:

STUDENTS:  Xinyu Zhang, Wei Wei, Jaroslaw Kowalski  
FACULTY: Carlo Ratti, Federico Riches, Alberto Benetti