Smile or your fridge door won't open

By Philip Kendall

Scientists at the University of Tokyo Sony CSL (Computer Science Labs) have come up with an ingenious way of cheering people up- forcing them to smile in exchange for easy access to their food.

Attaching a device called as a “Happiness Counter” to a regular refrigerator, Sony’s scientists are hoping to make us happier people.

The technology, which scans a person’s face as they stand in front of their food treasure trove, detects whether or not they are smiling and, reading anything other than a big, cheesy grin, makes the door difficult to open.

The thinking behind the tormenting device is that people, particularly those who live alone or who have little interaction with other people, often forget to smile. Since smiles produce natural endorphins in our bodies that cheer us up, the more grumpy-faced of us are, allegedly, more likely to feel down in the dumps.

Quoting philosopher and psychologist William James, Sony’s scientists assure us that “We don’t laugh because we’re happy; we’re happy because we laugh”, and that by bringing a few more home-made smiles into our lives, we’ll become happier people.

In principle, this makes sense, and even this sarcastic Brit can appreciate the psychological value of turning up the sides of his mouth from time to time. But the video Sony’s scientists have recently presented in order to show off their technology did little more than creep me out if I’m being honest, especially with that green LED “smile” in the top corner constantly reminding us to smile, regardless of our mood.

The design, which received an award as one of the top 100 new inventions at the Good Design Awards this year, reportedly has a genuine effect on users’ mood, and can be installed in the office or around our homes in an effort to promote an optimistic approach to our daily lives.

Even so, the thought of being reminded by a machine to smile 24/7, or my fridge door being difficult to open because I’m in a bad mood isn’t an especially comfortable one.

Who knows, with one of these little devices installed by the front door, maybe we’d all head out for the day feeling that little bit more optimistic. Goodness knows the 08:30 train heading into Shinjuku every morning could do with a few more rays of sunshine… And as we all know, smiles, like yawns but in a less weird way, are kind of contageous.

But being reminded to smile all day, every day?

Then we might run into problems and see a few smashed “Happiness Counter” units lying around. I mean, there’s nothing people in a bad mood enjoy more being told to cheer up, right?

Have a good day everyone! And remember, nice big smiles! Nice, big smiles or the machines will get you.

Source: Gigazine

© RocketNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

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What an obvious invention in the land of fake smiles.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

What an obvious invention in the land of fake smiles.


The "fake smiles" you mock are only fake to clueless gaijin. To the Japanese, they are as "real" as can be.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Brave New World,

Everybody must be "happy", that's government policy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

" We don't need no Sony fridges... ....We don't need no thought control... ....Hey, Sony! Leave my fridge alone "

5 ( +6 / -1 )

What a waste of R+D funds. No wonder Sonys goin down the tubes.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

hatsoff - Listen to Pink Floyd much? Ha ha!

I won't be buying this fridge.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I can see the scenario: Say a person's child or mother or friend has died. Now, in order to make a meal that person has to smile at the refrigerator--every day, multiple times a day no matter how that person feels. The whole concept is perverted and ludicrous. People who have forgotten to smile or who cannot smile through grief-stricken periods in their lives do not deserve to be hassled by an appliance.

But the sick premise made me laugh. I guess I'm still okay on the grouch-o-meter. I think I'll open the fridge & pour another glass of wine!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How will the fridge know if your smile is sarcastic and heaped with scorn for the damn fridge?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

After years surviving with a tiny fridge (all my ex left me with), I finally bought a big model with all the whistles and bells you can think of, so I can't help smiling every time I open it. Who needs a happiness counter?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Forcing people to smile does not mean anyone is happy... what a crock of crap this is.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I've been smiling to reduce the dangers of radiation and now I'll try and smile together something to eat.....all this smiling may just make me cry?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What next, a toilet that doesn't flush if you fail to laugh ?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If this fridge produces my favorite beer when it opens after I've had a really long day of fake smiling for work, then I would be more than happy to give it a real smile.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am not interested in the fridge-opening machine, but the part of this article about remembering to smile is very important.

Every now and then I see a (good) comedy movie on the internet, and laugh raucously and uproariously. Not only am I happy, but my belly and all my internal organs are relieved of some kind of stress, and like some evil anti-matter weight. It actually makes me sad afterwards, because I realize how little I laugh here in daily life. It can become a humourless and dour country at times.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


It can become a humourless and dour country at times.

Wrong. Only YOU can make it a "humourless and dour" country.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If I've been out working hard and want a beer to relax with when I get home and the fridge is playing hard to get? Guess whose fridge will be upside down in the back yard with an axe in the door.

Mind you, I wouldn't mind one of these sensors in the bedroom to check for fake smiles. Lol

1 ( +2 / -1 )

ben, Oh, are all the serious faces and complete avoidance of any personal interaction in the least w/ someone you don't already know only going on when I'm around?? You all are just partying it up as soon as I walk out the room? I got lots of friends here and have my share of fun, unknown sir, however humor, and loud guffaws in public are just, well, for lack of a better word, frowned upon! Which might be why they felt the necessity to invent such a fridge.

Funnybones, if you need this fridge to check your dates in the bedroom for you, and find you can't check fake smiles yourself, it might mean you are drinking too much.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is an excellent idea. You will be so annoyed at having to smile at a stupid machine that you won't open the door of the fridge, resulting in weight loss - good for your heart, blood pressure, and so on.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Jailbreak it so that to open it requires yelling "gimmemyfrukkinbacon!!".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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