Lauren McCarthy wearing the Happiness Hat

Lauren McCarthy '08 wearing her Happiness Hat.

Lauren McCarthy ’08 wants people to smile. Seriously. And she has just the tool—the Happiness Hat, a wearable conditioning device that encourages smiling through pain feedback. Kind of like a torture device with a heart.

McCarthy, who received degrees in computer science and engineering and art and design at MIT, is a designer, artist, and programmer whose work explores the structures and systems of social interactions, identity, and self-representation. According to her Web site, “She is interested in the slightly uncomfortable moments when patterns are shifted, expectations are broken, and participants become aware of the system.” She works in a variety of media: video, performance, software, internet art, media installations, and, as seen here, interactive objects and environments.

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