Oct. 19, 2012 at 8:07 PM ET
If you find yourself in need of an emotional pick-me-up now and then, this little project might pique your fancy. It prints out a live and happy thought from the Internet whenever you request one.
Brendan Dawes created The Happiness Machine, as he calls it, earlier this year. What it does is keep an eye on the Internet, via a monitoring service called We Feel Fine, and watch for anyone mentioning "happy" in a public post, tweet or what have you. When you hit that button, it prints a happy thought right out for you.
Happiness is what it looks for right now, but Dawes says on his website that it's "completely agnostic to the data it prints." In fact, he created a second version of the machine for the recent London Design festival with two options — happy or sad. And it could be configured to print out the Internet's latest thoughts on politics, the weather or your favorite team. Dawes even tweaked it to tell him whether his train is on time.
Whatever the case, it causes users to realize that the Internet is, in fact, populated by people. As Dawes told design blog Protein:
Placing a small piece of paper in your hands with the feelings of someone you've never met, reminds us that this isn't a network of machines but more importantly a network of human beings.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.