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Problem Statement

How can we emotionally motivate people to get things done?

The majority of the mobile to-do list applications rely on the phone screen to send out reminder notifications. Two-dimensional reminders like an alert on the lock screen would be intentionally neglected if users don’t feel like doing the task. Therefore, if we bring emotions to these applications and make the interaction tangible to use, it might potentially be more effective.


Prototyper, Interaction Designer

Building 3D models, laser cutting, lamp motion design, video filming and editing.

Methods Used

Bodystorming, Video prototyping, 3D prototyping, Behavioral prototyping, Usability testing

Tools Used

Rhino, Laser cutter, Adobe Premiere


Xinglu Yao, Ricki Xie


2 Weeks

1. Ideation

Sketches of the Lamp Body and Base

In the ideation stage, we brainstormed about what the possible shapes of the lamp body and lamp base are to make the wonderlamp functional and visual appealing.

Servos Movements and Light Patterns

Emotions of the Wonderlamp was mainly conveyed through servos movements and light patterns. We bodystormed to see if the lamp motions can better imitate human actions.

2. Prototyping

Iterations 1 to 4. (Hover to see more details)

To quickly visualize and communicate our ideas, we went through four iterations of the wonderlamp using materials like cardboard, foam and tapes. After finished building the 3D lamp model in Rhino, we laser cut the model with mat board and finally came up with the one using birch to make it more stable.

3D Model in Rhino

3. User Testings
2 Rounds, 6 Participants

In the first round, we haven’t implemented the LED light and IR sensor yet, so we conducted Wizard of Oz to see if participants can understand the emotions wonderlamp trying to communicate. After tweaking the movements and adding the rest of the components, we conducted the second round to see if the IR sensor, lighting color and blinking pattern together spoke to the emotions we were trying to convey.

Two Rounds of User Testings

Round 1 Findings
  1. The lamp’s head position was too low in the neutral position.

  2. All three major interactions happened too quick, giving users limited time to comprehend.

  3. The turning angle was a little off.



Round 2 Findings

Emotion "Happy" was not easy to recognize. After that, we tweaked the corresponding light colors and servos behavior. Additionaly, we made small adjustments to the blinking timing to match the nodding movement.



4. Outcome

We were glad that the three servos, the LED light, two Arduino boards and the infrared light sensor worked perfectly together. On the open house days, the audience enjoyed playing with it and were all surprised by its emotional expressiveness. 


Our next step is to carry out an experimental research to test its effectiveness in behavior change.



Future Direction

It would be cool if the sticky notes can be digitally displayed and synchronized with the to-do list applications on phone.

Final Lamp and To-do List Board

User Testings
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