Project Details


Sketch, Illustrator, Premier Pro

Team Members

Ziqiang He, Menghe Li


Oct. 2017-

3 day Hackathon


Concept, UX/UI


Emotion-Pop! is an a plugin AI detector and an augmented taste device  that is shaped like a lollipop which works together to help reveal hidden emotions in text messages and experience what those feelings taste like. This project was a part of the Verizon x Parsons School of Design 3-day Hackathon. Emotion-Pop! was rewarded the most creative concept with a cash prize among 25+ teams that participated. 


01. Overview

With the rise of Internet and technology, communication has become fast and ubiquitous. It's never too hard to reach another loved one from far away through text, phone, FaceTime, Skype, and many more other services. When communicating with text messages, there is often ambiguity present in the communication because mere words typed through a screen are often objective without emotions attached. It is hard to read the emotions behind text messages and therefore can cause misinterpretation and result in miscommunication. Our design question is then-

How might we help communicate the misinterpretation of emotions in our everyday text-messaging communication?

02. Research


During the brainstorming phase, we found the problem of misinterpretation of emotions through text messages. However, our team was thinking- how these emotions could be felt through a different sensory systems other than it being said out loud? We thought if people could taste emotions, what would that be like? After some research and interviews, we found that different cultures have different culture associations of taste and emotions. For example, in the American and Chinese culture, people often describe their feelings with different tasting senses. People say I feel bitter when they feel angry and resentful. People also say "Ah, this is so bitter" from tasting the sour-ness and bitterness of a lemon. With the ideas we found, we decide that it is possible to taste your emotions and preceded with this concept.

The Louise in Chinatown Video

Another inspiration of our concept was from our teammate friend's video on YouTube where the video was about a person who can tastes food through licking on a lollipop just by him taking a picture of the food he sees around him. This is similar to our concept of being able to lick and tastes something, in our case, it is the emotions that we are tasting. 

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 4.46.42 PM.png




"Crystal is a busy graduate student, having high hopes for the future in proving herself "
Work: 2nd year Grad-student, Part-time job
Age: 25
Location: New York, NY
Family: Has a long-distance relationship


  • Makes time for his boyfriend since they are in a long distance relationship 

  • Juggling her relationship with his boyfriend, friends, part-time work, and school work

  • Becomes a successful designer in the future

  • She is currently in a long distance relationship and is slightly insecure about it.


  • Currently in a long distance relationship and is slightly insecure about it.

  • There isn't much time left in the day to spend quality time with his boyfriend and they mainly text messages throughout the day

  • Feels the pressure to do well in her classes

03. Ideation

User Journey
Basic Functions of the Emotion-Pop device

The Tasting Pad generates 4 flavors.

  • Sweetness - happy

  • Bitterness - sad

  • Sourness - irony

  • Spiciness - angry

The LED Light will light up when the emotion is decoded and detected. It also shows current battery usage.

We were able to produced a 3D modeling of what the Emotion-pop would actually look like. Since the inspiration came from lollipop, we chose a cute baby pink color. 

User Experience

04. Prototyping

Since we had limited time, we couldn't actually conduct user tests. However, we had a few mentors who gave us their thoughts and opinions. In all, they all thought this emotion tasting idea is interesting and creative. This confirmed our concept and we made a graph of what the user experience of an actual user when using this product. 

Final Prototype

Finally, we filmed a product video of how this product would work by using the above user experience graph. With this device which syncs with your phone, you are able to read the hidden emotions in text messages that are unable to be expressed through mere words through a screen by tasting the specific emotion. When you come upon a text message that you wonder the real  "emotion" that is hidden behind it, you can simply just tap on the text and lick/taste the augmented taste lollipop device.

05. Next Steps

Participating in a 3 day Hackathon in collaboration with Verizon was really challenging but a lot of fun. Our team really went crazy with the idea of tasting emotions and had a great time filming and creating the product. There were of course a lot of research, testing, and prototyping if we were to really create this product. There is also the question of which dataset we could use or if there are any available dataset that we could train from for our system to be able to calculate and identify the specific emotions.