Mood Recognition and Empathic Lighting for Elderly

Title:Mood Recognition and Empathic Lighting for Elderly
Institute:University of Twente (HMI)
Place:Enschede The Netherlands
Type:final project
Start date:18 oktober 2016
End date:not present
HMI ContactKhiet TruongRandy Klaassen


Imagine that you come home from work, tired, frustrated and stressed out, and that the color of your living room changes from dark red into a soft blue color creating a calming atmosphere. Wouldn't that be great? In order to develop this kind of mood adaptive ambient technology, we need to be able to measure and sense people's moods automatically. However, measuring mood is not straightforward.

In this graduation project, the aim is to develop and evaluate a Mood Lighting System for elderly people. With the lights, we aim to create a more comfortable atmosphere for the elderly. What are the relevant moods to be detected with elderly people? How can we automatically recognize mood in elderly people? How should the lights be adjusted, what are the functions? What kind of lighting adjustment strategies can we use? How do the elderly people experience the lighting adjustments? Depending on the student's skills and interests, s/he can choose a relevant question and narrow down his/her research. We intend to use wearable technology for estimating the elderly's mood. Students can for example make use of a smart watch that measures heart rate for which a prototype app (Android and Android wear) has been developed, or the Empatica E4 that can measure heart rate and electrodermal activity as well. For the lighting system, students can make use of Philips Hue Lighting Starter's Kit.

Potential tasks
- Develop and/or assess the feasibility of recognizing elderly's mood through wearable sensors (e.g. heart rate, electrodermal activity, accelerometer, voice, face)
- Adjust the lighting based on the elderly's mood. What lighting configurations could be used?
- How should the lights be embedded in the elderly's living space? What are possible functions or strategies - should the lights signal to the caregiver that this person is sad or should the lights try to elevate this person's mood?
- Evaluate the Mood Lighting System with the elderly: how do they feel about the system?

Of course, the emphasis on different tasks can shift according to the students' interests and skills. We also very much welcome the students' own ideas!!

Since this assignment is part of the 4TU Empathic Lighting project (, we are collaborating with 2 other technical universities, Eindhoven University of Technology and Delft University of Technology. It is also possible for students to carry out their research in those locations.

HMI researchers involved
Khiet Truong (, Randy Klaassen (

Further reading
Huldtgren, A, Katsimerou, C, Kuijsters, A, Redi, J, and Heynderickx, I, “Design considerations for adaptive lighting to improve seniors’ mood.” In Inclusive Smart Cities and e-Health, pp. 15-26. Springer International Publishing, 2015.

Kuijsters, A, Redi, J, de Ruyter, B, and Heynderickx, I, “Lighting to Make You Feel Better: Improving the Mood of Elderly People with Affective Ambiences”. PloS one, 10(7), e0132732, 2015.

Picard, R.W. and Healey, J. "Affective wearables". Personal Technologies 1(4), 231–240, 1997.