Picture of Twitter Mood Light - The World's Mood in a Box

How's the world feeling right now? This box tells you.

Powered by: an Arduino, a WiFly wireless module, an RGB LED, and a 9v battery.

I’m a news junkie. I want to know everything that is going on in the world as soon as it happens. I want to wake up and know immediately if something big has happened overnight.

However, I’m an extraordinarily busy man; I don’t have time to read news feeds; reading that headline that I already knew about or don’t care about is time that I’m never getting back!

No. What I need is some way to be constantly in touch with the world's events as they unfold, alerted when something big happens, and to be made aware of it all faster than awareness itself!

...A way to get a glimpse of the collective human consciousness as an extension of my own.  Something that I don't have to continually check or poll, but instead, like a part of my body, it will tell me when it's feeling pain or generally in need of my attention ...leaving me time to get on with other things.

And so, I present: The World Mood in a Box!

The Arduino connects directly to any wireless network via the WiFly module, continually searches Twitter for tweets with emotional content, collates the tweets for each emotion, does some math, and then fades the color of the LED to reflect the current World Mood; Red for Anger, Yellow for Happy, Pink for Love, White for Fear, Green for Envy, Orange for Surprise, and Blue for Sadness.

If an unexpectedly high number of tweets of a particular emotion are found, then the LED will flash to alert us to the possibility of a world event that has caused this unusually strong emotional reaction.

For example, a world disaster and it may flash Blue or Red (sadness or anger), if the strong favourite loses a big football game it may fade to Orange (surprise), …and If it flashes White, the collective human mind is feeling extreme fear, and it's probably best to go hide in a cupboard and sit it out, waiting for sunnier skies and a return to Yellow or Pink.  ...OK, I'm not that busy.

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jmccauley22 years ago
The world has changed a bit since this program was first posted.  I finally have my mood light working, but it wasn't always easy.

First, make sure you buy an Arduino Duemilanove.  Yes, there are newer devices out there.  No, you do not want them.  They are all supposed to use the same code, but this code is sensitive to the timing on the Duemilanove.  Use another board and you'll be fighting issues all the way.  After over a year of this, I just switched and I'm glad I did. 

Second, the Twitter world moves much faster than it did.  30 tweets of the original terms go by in less than a second.  Since everything is computed in tweets per minute, this obviously won't do.   Everything registers off the scale. 

You'll have to substitute this code in TwitterParser.cpp to compensate. 

#ifdef DEBUG
    m_printer->println("assuming tweet was from yesterday");
#endif // #ifdef DEBUG

  long seconds = time1 - time2;
  return seconds / 60;


#ifdef DEBUG
    m_printer->println("assuming tweet was from yesterday");
#endif // #ifdef DEBUG

  long seconds = time1 - time2;
  return seconds;

I also had to modify my LED.cpp file to make sure colors showed up properly.  In particular, I had to adjust the array values in the beginning to accurately show colors with my LED -- apparently my red isn't as bright as the blue and green and so full value on all three skews the colors.   I added the following text to the WorldMood.cpe to make it easy to test light colors -- right after the device starts up, it triggers the light to the values specified.  Value range goes from 0 to 255. 

          //a way to quickly test colors and connections
          analogWrite(redPin, 255);
          analogWrite(greenPin, 35);
          analogWrite(bluePin, 0);

It goes immediately after this line:

         LED led(Serial, redPin, greenPin, bluePin, fadeDelay);

I am still adjusting my search criteria and making minor adjustments, but this solves most of the "out of the box" issues I've seen people experience. 

Excellent update/summary interesting that the tweets per second needs to be adjusted, i wonder if it would work on other social media platforms?

thanks for putting the time in to update.

RandomMatrix (author)  jmccauley22 years ago
Yes, Arduino, Twitter and the World's Mood have changed a lot since May 2010. I"m afraid this is not an active project of mine, and I rely on great comments like this to keep this 'ible current.

Hey, the new API requires OATH and this project no longer works. It's a little beyond my ability to fix it, but would you like to work with me to provide updated code? This seems to be a fairly popular project and it's really cool when it works.

Also, as of today, the project no longer works.

Twitter has changed its API and now the query returns errors.

Is there a way i can still make it ?

would be a great help if you can sugest a way to do this ?

Unfortunately, no. I've not been able to get it to interface with the new API.

davidbarcomb4 months ago

This is great. I have to try doing this

RegineT15 months ago

Is there anyone out there who has an idea of making code for aduinos? I'm having a hard time doing my project. I have no idea of what code to use. My project is about a gh-718c mini PIR motion sensor detecting my arm or hand. If the motion sensor detects that my hand is low, the light or LED will dim, and if it detects my hand on a high position, the LED will bright up. Please please. Help please. Thanks for the reply!

RegineT1 RegineT15 months ago

By the way, I'm using an arduino uno. Thankyou. Please reply.

excellent idea, i think the search terms could be 'work in progress' but other than that a really cool idea.

How can I make this without using the WiFly module?

I second you, too.

rachitmehrotra11 months ago

So can this still be done ?

If yes , do i need to buy the same hardware?

What would be better is to have a "mood server" that calculates the mood, and have the Arduino connect to it.

Since all the heavy work runs on the server, the mood could be updated much faster than the Arduino, and it would save battery life.

I'd write the server software myself, except I suck at interfacing with Twitter... :P
bkang12121 year ago
hi so i downloaded the code but it doesn't work with processing or arduino because i have updated versions. Is there an updated version of the code in .pde and .ino format
It is a very nice project however, you constantly search for news, does it consume a lot of battery?

Can you actually make it passively receive the data in a periodical manner? or wait for a device or app to send a 'mood' to it whenever this device receives a twitt? I know it is always possible, but what could be the implementation please? do you have any idea or example?

As I would like to make one that ideally be waiting and be triggered so to consume the minimum power
dmeeker2 years ago
I am not even sure where to start with this comment!  Bottom line, I got this running on newer hardware with a newer IDE.

Long story short: I started working on this using the 1.01 Arduino IDE, an Arduino Uno and an LED "ball" which I found referenced here:

I liked the look of that ball, and thought to myself "what can I do with it that is cool". I bought one, and then decided to see where I could take this instructable.

Like many of you, I ran into all sorts of errors when trying to load up the sketch and libraries to make it work.

After hacking away at it for about 8 hours over the last week, I've gotten it compiling and running on the new version of Arduino, with an Uno and not the Duemilanove. Once I get things a bit cleaner, and I document what changes I actually made,

I will post the full code somewhere and add it to this comment thread.

The quick overview:

1) Wired up my LED. I am using the LED array that came inside the ball. I also wired up a Sparkfun RGB LED Breakout to see if it would work across both. ( It does. I had to make the code change referenced in the comments and on this blog to make the colors match best with the Sparkfun LED kit. (

2) In each of the libraries that were included, I had to update the code to replace: #include "WProgram.h" with #include

3) The timing and error handling are still pretty screwed up, and not where they should be. I am going to work on that next. The code will execute, and throw some errors, but in true arduino fashion, if you let it run, it will power through things and get to the next step.

4) Pay attention to the comments in "step 6", download the code: I HAD to do this. If you have a newer board then you may need to change this struct SPI_UART_cfg SPI_Uart_config = {0x50,0x00,0x03,0x10}; to this: struct SPI_UART_cfg SPI_Uart_config = {0x60,0x00,0x03,0x10};

5) Once I did those things, I got it to compile and pushed to the Arduino.

It would go out and attempt to make a request to twitter, but I'd get a 404 from twitter. This caused me to scratch my head for a day, contemplate rewriting the entire WIFLY library and then it hit me...

The http request had something wrong with it. In the worldmood sketch, you must look at the lines where you define the search request and make a small change, appending HTTP 1.0 to the end of each.


These lines:

prog_char string_1[] PROGMEM = "GET /search.json?q=\"happiest\"+OR+\"so+happy\"+OR+\"so+excited\"+OR+\"i'm+happy\"+OR+\"woot\"+OR+\"w00t\"&rpp=30&result_type=recent";

Should become:

prog_char string_1[] PROGMEM = "GET /search.json?q=\"happiest\"+OR+\"so+happy\"+OR+\"so+excited\"+OR+\"i'm+happy\"+OR+\"woot\"+OR+\"w00t\"&rpp=30&result_type=recent HTTP/1.0";

I think that is about it, but I need to go back and look at everything to ensure that there weren't other items necessary.

The one item I haven't addressed yet is that when left as-is, the twitter search for "envy" still fails. I can't understand why, but I haven't taken much of a look at it yet.

To get past this, I changed the search string from the original to this:

prog_char string_4[] PROGMEM = "GET /search.json?q=\"i+wish+i\"+&rpp=60&result_type=recent HTTP/1.0";

I basically got rid of the search and just put in "I wish I" for the time being.

So, there you have it. If anyone wants to continue to improve, the army of "modern" Arduino hackers can start from this modified code that indeed works. (yay!)

Enjoy, and please share comments as you make progress.

Hey! I tried going to the dropbox link you gave, but the file is missing. Do you still have it up somewhere? Thanks in advance!
facepalm1 year ago
When running this code I got errors saying "WProgram.h" did not exist. The solution is to replace any instance of

#include "WProgram.h"


#if ARDUINO >= 100
#include "Arduino.h"
#include "WProgram.h"

can we make this using a wifly module rn xv wifly shield
damianest2 years ago
Being fairly new to Arduino and EE / Physical Computing, I am not at the stage where I feel comfortable making my own Circuit Boards. Would anyone mind posting how to wire this via breadboard?
I would love to make one of these... however $70-$100 for the WiFly shield is way too much... any other ideas that would substitute?
I'm in the same dilemma :( Wifly shields are expensive where i come from. I suppose an Ethernet shield would help?
pabhilash2 years ago
So, i have a question. How could i accomplish this project with an Ethernet shield instead of the Wifly shield? (I ask because the Wifly shield is rare and expensive where i come from..)
pwnag32 years ago
a wonderful idea
praveenkm3 years ago

I compiled this code and getting me lot of errors..
plz help me!!!
h00k praveenkm2 years ago
This looks like a fantastic idea.  I'll probably adapt the base and use wood, and maybe allow for USB power instead of the 9V battery as well.  Also, perhaps an on-off switch on the back may be something I'll do.

How long are you experiencing the 9V battery last?

Thanks for this, it's going to get me working with acrylic, something I haven't done yet.
did you ever get the problem fixed? i had the same problem
jmccauley22 years ago
Something else to keep in mind, the Twitter API is about to change. When it does, it appears that after 5 March 2013, this code will no longer work and will require an update.

If I figure out how to make it work again, I'll post the code here. If not..... I guess I'll hope someone else figures it out.
samirsky2 years ago
The Olympics stole your idea!

I was still excited to see the concept on the international stage.
RandomMatrix (author)  samirsky2 years ago
Ha! Not the first nor the last, i suspect :D
citronella2 years ago
Has anyone tried to make this with processing?
Or perhaps with an ethernet shield? I'm really interested!
dava_22 years ago
Has anyone tried to make it work over USB cable, without Wifi?
Lachee2 years ago
is it possible to use a usb with a processing script?
ilpug3 years ago
I have nowhere near the experience to make one of these things, is it possible that I could buy one from someone, and if so, for how much?
lance_r4 years ago
It would be really sweet to make a desktop version of this you know? so when your doing regular work on the old comp. you can tell the world's mood!
RandomMatrix (author)  lance_r4 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
Much appreciated I tried to take it on myself but got hung up on html parsing haha need to brush up on my c++
check out:

It only updates once/day, but might be interesting to monitor over time.

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