Affective Diary

Affective Diary is a project conducted at the Interaction Lab at SICS in cooperation with Microsoft Research. Participants in the project are: Kristina Höök, Martin Svensson, Anna Ståhl, Petra Sundström and Jarmo Laaksolathi, SICS, Marco Combetto, Alex Taylor and Richard Harper, Microsoft Research.


A diary provides a useful means to express inner thoughts and record experiences of past events. In re-readings, it also provides a resource for reflection, allowing us to re-experience, brood over or even shed the thoughts and feelings we’ve associated with events or people. To expand on the ways in which we creatively engage in diary-keeping, we have designed an affective diary that captures some of the physical, bodily aspects of experiences and emotions—what we refer to as “affective body memorabilia”. The affective diary assembles sensor data, captured from the user and uploaded via their mobile phone, to form an ambiguous, abstract colourful body shape. With a range of other materials from the mobile phone, such as text and MMS messages, photographs, etc., these shapes are made available to the user. Combining these materials, the diary is designed to invite reflection and to allow the user to piece together their own stories.

Usage Scenario

In Affective Diary users carry bio sensors that capture for example movement, skin temperature, galvanic skin response and pulse. Activities on the mobile phone is also captured, sent and received SMSs, Bluetooth presence, photos taken with the camera and music that you have listened to during the use.

The user carries the sensors, for example, during a day, in the evening at home the data is downloaded into a tablet PC and the user’s day is represented in Affective Diary as an animation, where the data is shown. The bio data is visualised as characters with different body postures and colours, representing movement and arousal. The data from the mobile phone is graphically represented and clicking on the different representations makes it possible to read SMS-conversations, view other Bluetooth units and photographs and hear the music again. There is also the possibility to scribble in the diary and the characters representing bio data can be changed, both the body posture and the colour. The Affective Diary aims at letting users relive both the physical parts of their experiences as well as the cognitive parts.

Affective Diary Developer

The Affective Diary project uses two tools: the mobile phone client and the tablet pc diary application. Feel free to download the binaries or play around with the code.

  • Affective Diary Application
  • Mobile Phone Logging Service