What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Santa beard shocks you into smiling

Posted December 23, 2015

— OK, at first I thought this was just a joke. Then the folks at McKinney advertising assured me it was for real.

The Durham advertising juggernaut that gave us the Beercade and Travelocity Gnome have created the ultimate holiday wearable device. It will leave you smiling.

JöLLY is a long white beard lined with adhesive sensors that send real-time smile data to an app, encouraging the user to smirk, grin and laugh more often. The device might be a spoof on all of the wearable devices like the Fitbit, but it does work. And I have the sore cheeks to prove it.

McKinney's description of how it works:

"JöLLY is equipped with four adhesive dermal sensors that the wearer attaches to their cheeks and jaw, a battery pack and a Wi-Fi-enabled Arduino board. The maxillofacial impulses that occur when the muscles responsible for smiling contract are collected and the analogue intensity data are sent to a companion smartphone app. The app then displays real-time changes in jolliness over preset measurement periods. When the app’s smileometer shows unsatisfactory smile movement, JöLLY sends electric reminder pulses — or “disruptive provocations” — to the cheeks and jaw to encourage increased smile frequency."

My description of how it works:

Smile until your face hurts because if you don't register a smile in 20 seconds, the device will zap you in the cheekbones. They had the zap strength at 4 out of 10 at first, but that really hurt! So they lowered it to level 2, which was much more tolerable.

Check out the video above to see me checking out the beta-version of JöLLY in the WRAL newsroom. And remember to smile this holiday season, even when you aren't being zapped.


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