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Emotigon
Can't decide how you feel but in no mood for soul-searching? Just twirl the spinner and let the Emotigon pick a feeling for you!
About this creation
Please feel free to look over the images and skip the verbiage.

"How do you feel about that?"

Well, if you're anything like me, you don't always have a good answer for that. Sometimes it gets me into big trouble.

Getting in touch with your true feelings can be time-consuming, mentally exhausting, and uncomfortable -- especially if you accidentally stir up feelings you worked really hard to repress. It can also get you into even more trouble.



So why bother with all that soul-searching when the Emotigon can pick a feeling for you with nothing more than a twirl of the spinner? What could possibly go wrong??

With 20 different emotions expressed by minifigs, the standard Emotigon has a feeling for nearly every occasion. And since each has about the same probability, you can be confident that the feeling the Emotigon chooses for you will be unbiased by social context, experience, common sense, or emotional maturity.

Need an emoticon or emoji for that message? Just spin the Emotigon. Who's gonna know?



But with practice, the Emotigon can also be used face-to-face. At a loss for words about the new girlfriend your son just brought home? Your blind date's green and purple hair? Your wife's new outfit?

No problem! Just mumble an excuse to leave the room, make a mad dash for your Emotigon, and practice the selected face a few times before reappearing seconds later. No worries if the selection backfires, or if you just can't sell it. While the other person struggles to process your irrational response, you'll be cooking up a better one!

Besides, you'll have plausible deniability: "Honest, honey, I didn't know what to say about those shoes, so I used the Emotigon. How about if I just spin again?"



Even Roxie's using it! "So tell me, Roxie, how do you feel about eating my Unimog tires now? Hmmm?

The Emotigon's great for trying different feelings on for size. Know exactly how you feel but don't dare let on? The Emotigon can help you shop for a feeling that strikes the right balance between sincerity and spinelessness.



"Oh no no no, definitely not Disgust! Hmmm, Shock might work. Ah, there it is -- Really??" Imagine the uses in your therapist's office!

Or perhaps you're just in the mood for a mood other than the mood you're in? The emotionally adventurous need only spin the Emotigon, sit back, and enjoy the ride!

The Emotigon's focus on feelings makes it unique among commonly available decision-making aids. The outcomes in this example include "Yes", "No", "Maybe", and 5 possible courses of action but nary a word about how to feel about the situation.



Likewise, the well-known Magic 8-Ball has 20 different answers to yes-no questions with 18 shades of "Maybe" but no emotional guidance whatsoever.

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Available feelings

Minifigs express a wide range of easily recognizable emotions by design. The standard Emotigon comes with 20 minifigs carefully chosen to finish the sentence "I feel..." in as many different ways. If the selected emotion happens to be appropriate, so much the better!

Here are the 20 standard minifigs. Their corresponding emotions are listed from left to right.



(1) Silly, (2) Surprised, (3) Standoffish, (4) Welcoming, (5) Just sick about the whole thing.



(6) Devious, (7) Happy, (8) Dazed, (9) Furious, (10) Scared.



(11) Really, really scared, (12) Meh, (13) Disapproving, (14) Confused, (15) Busted.



(16) Cold-hearted, (17) Stiffled, (18) Cantankerous, (19) Alarmed, (20) Clever.

If the standard emotions don't suit, just browse the minifigs on BrickLink for a collection more in tune with the real you -- or at least with the you everybody sees.

Uncomfortable with confrontation and negative feelings but can't decide on the right fake smile? Minifigs offer more than enough smiles to fill the entire board.



With a board like this, the Emotigon also becomes the perfect decision-maker for the President who likes to surround himself with yes-men -- or better yet, yes-women.

For the incurable curmudgeon, a board that just says "No!" in 20 different ways...



Or maybe you just enjoy being combative...



While you're on BrickLink, you might also get some extra emotions for those special occasions.



Not sure exactly what occasion this would be, but it would definitely be special.

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Emotigon spinner and board

The "-gon" in "Emotigon" comes from the spinner's red ring, which has the shape of a simple concave icosagon (20-sided polygon). More on the ring and its geometry in a coming post on the spinning top version.



The embedded black pointer breaks the spinner's color symmetry for selection purposes without disturbing the mass symmetry needed for unbiased spins. The narrow pointer tip (right) reduces the chance of an ambiguous outcome.



Mounting the spinner so it can't fall over also improves the Emotigon's precision. Here, that's accomplished by having the spinner turn on a bare axle opposite the stem. The bearing at the center of the board keeps this axle vertical.







The bearing tends to bind intermittently in stick-slip fashion during spins, but that turned out to be a feature rather than a bug in this setting. The binding adds to the unpredictability of the spinner's final orientation while keeping spin times short enough for emergency use.



The board's as fair as I could make it. If you give each minifig half of the angular space to its left and half to its right, you get the following probabilities: (i) 5.6% each for the 4 minifigs at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock. (ii) 5.3% each for the 8 minifigs next to them. (iii) 4.4% each for the rest.

That gives the 4 minifigs closest to the edges of the board a 27% advantage over those closest to the corners. If you prefer to project some feelings more than others, place your minifigs accordingly.

Covering the spinner's bare axle with this red tip assembly turns it into one of my favorite spinning tops. You'll find a few photos of the top version below.



You can even use the top on the board with the spinner bearing removed. If the top starts centered, the circular band of tiles will help it stay centered by making landings less bumpy.

BTW, this spinner is great for Spin-the-Bottle, too. Hopefully not with minifigs, though. That would just be weird.



The spinner's ring can also be colored for other games of chance.



For example, the 10 outer vertices on this gambling version define a simple convex decagon with 10 "sides" distinguished by color. The top will come to rest on one of them, and the rules might make that one the "selected" side. Alternatively, the selected side could be the one stopping closest to your belly button.

Some of the probabilities here using just the colors on the ring's upper face: Any specific side (e.g., black, lime, blue, gray, orange, or the red at the end of the black pointer) = 10%. Blue or gray side = 20%. Any red side = 50%. Any non-lime side = 90%.

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Top version

I'll focus on the spinner as a LEGOŽ spinning top and on the construction of the ring in a coming post. For now, I'll just include a few shots of the top without the embeded pointer.




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Optional: Mechanical randomizers

The Emotigon's spinner got me to wondering: How do seemingly simple mechanical "randomizers" like game spinners, dice, coins, ball cages, teetotums (gambling tops), and the like produce such unpredictable results? Aren't they bound by Newton's laws of motion at all times?

Unpredictability: The answer to the 2nd question is a resounding "yes". The only truly random physical systems are quantum mechanical in nature, and therefore atomic to subatomic in scale. In a hand-scale randomizer, all vestiges of quantum randomness are averaged out, and that makes the device completely deterministic to any conceivable degree of accuracy.



LEGOŽ teetotums: Classic Dreidel (left) and general-purpose 4-outcome gambling top.

Mechanical randomizers make up for their lack of inherent randomness by playing on ignorance of important details. And for that, all they need is a convenient mechanical system whose outcomes are predictable only with an unrealistically detailed knowledge of all the physical parameters and initial conditions involved. If the relevant Newtonian equations of motion are too complicated to solve on the fly -- and they almost certainly will be -- so much the better.

In a coin toss, for example, the "system" is the coin itself, the hand that tosses it, the air it flies through, and the surface it lands and bounces and rolls on. Since the effective unknowables are too numerous to count even in this simple example, the outcome of the toss is for all intents and purposes random, even if the coin itself is unfair.

In general, effective mechanical randomness requires only a closed dissipative physical system that's mechanically complex in highly nonlinear ways. Systems like this are not chaotic in the strict physical sense. Nor do they need to be to do their jobs well.

What does all that mean? Practically speaking, "closed" in this context means that there are no further energy inputs after the initial spin of the pointer, roll of the dice, or toss of the coin. "Dissipative" means that the device loses energy to friction, rolling resistance, air resistance, inelastic collisions and the like before coming to rest. "Complex" here basically means that many different physical processes affect the outcome. And "nonlinear" means that for at least some of these processes, X times the input doesn't necessarily mean X times the output.

Such systems abound in nature. Many seemingly simple man-made mechanical devices fill the bill as well.

∨ Fairness: A standard die is "fair" when landing on one of its 6 faces is just as likely as landing on any other. The dots or "pips" are just there to tell the faces apart for gaming purposes.



But a typical cheap board game die isn't truly fair for 2 reasons: (i) Its edges and corners are never quite identical, and that biases how the die bounces and rolls. (ii) The pips are recessed to keep them from wearing off, and that makes each face slightly heavier than the face with next higher number. As a result, the die is most likely to land with the 1 face down and least likely to land with the 6 face side down.

Casino-grade dice reduce such biases substantially, but perfect fairness isn't an option in the real world. The rubber edges and corners of a LEGOŽ die are probably less uniform than if made of ABS instead, but the painted pips are probably better than recessed ones.



The die on the right here eliminates pip bias at the expense of making outcomes indistinguishable after the roll. The other die does away with the pips by color-coding outcomes instead. If color has no significant effect on LEGOŽ part density, any remaining bias should be due to the rubber jacket alone. The odds here are 2 to 1 in orange's favor, but markings should have nothing to do with a randomizer's physical fairness.

The Emotigon's spinner tries to divorce fairness from color. This more colorful version does the same...



By definition, a fair coin is just as likely to land on one side as the other. Real metal coins are almost fair, but not exactly, as the engravings are likely to make one side slightly heavier than the other.



In a mechanical randomizer, physical fairness requires a certain precision and symmetry in both shape and mass after any necessary markings. A bare 3x3 Technic disk has the precision and symmetry needed to function as a fair coin, but you can't tell which side is which after a toss. Adding a sticker to one side solves that problem at the expense of fairness, as the disk would then be slightly more likely to land with the sticker side down.

∨ Spinners: The beauty of a spinner-and-board randomizer is that the markings needed to distinguish outcomes can all be on the board. Making the spinner itself fair then becomes that much easier.



To get a fair randomizer, however, the spinner and board must both be fair. And for that, the board's markings need a certain rotational symmetry about the spin axis.

I tried this strategy in the Emotigon. If color has no effect on plastic density, I succeeded with the spinner.



But I had less luck with the board, as available jumpers and baseplate studs limited my ability to place the minifigs around the board at both constant radius and constant angular spacing. I decided to favor the radius.



Reference: Kapitaniak, M., Strzalko, J., Grabski, J., and Kapitaniak, T., 2012, The three-dimensional dynamics of the die throw, Chaos 22, 047504, available online here.

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Specifications

Overall dimensions:254x254x93 mm (LxWxH, board + spinner)
Mass:[] g (board + spinner)
Different emotions at one time:20
All possible emotions:Many more
Modified LEGOŽ parts:Tip cut from 4L antenna
Non-LEGOŽ parts:None
Credits:Original MOC
See also:Spinning top folder
Recommended Wikipedia pages:Icosagon, Polygon

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Comments

 I made it 
  August 9, 2017
Quoting Henrik Jensen A very entertaining post here Jeremy, and very well deserved to reach the "across MOCpages" section. But I suggest you to use your Emotigon cautiously - Laughing at the wife's new hairstyle would probably backfire!
Thanks, Henrik! Yes, I was in hot water on and off throughout the testing phase. But now I use the Emotigon at home with impunity. After all, what's another consecutive life sentence in the dog house?
 I like it 
  August 9, 2017
A very entertaining post here Jeremy, and very well deserved to reach the "across MOCpages" section. But I suggest you to use your Emotigon cautiously - Laughing at the wife's new hairstyle would probably backfire!
 I made it 
  August 6, 2017
Quoting Oliver Becker More than deserved it is, isn't it? ;) You'd gone your way also here and post your wonderful and unique stuff, and an answer to you like this one from MOCpages has long been overdue, my friend! I'm happy with you! :)
Very kind of you, Oliver! No idea how posts for the "Across MOCpages" section are chosen but delighted to have finally made the cut.
 I like it 
  August 6, 2017
More than deserved it is, isn't it? ;) You'd gone your way also here and post your wonderful and unique stuff, and an answer to you like this one from MOCpages has long been overdue, my friend! I'm happy with you! :)
 I made it 
  August 3, 2017
Thanks to all of you, I made the "Across MOCpages" row of four at the upper right corner of the home page for the very first time with this MOC! Certainly don't need the Emotigon to tell me how to feel about that!
 I made it 
  August 2, 2017
Quoting Nirds forprez Your most recent submission led me to this post. Mad that I missed it! Funny, geometric, creative. Check, check and check. Wonderful submission!
Too kind! If I thought you'd had time to make your own Emotigon, I'd be wondering about that "mad" part right now.
 I like it 
  August 2, 2017
Your most recent submission led me to this post. Mad that I missed it! Funny, geometric, creative. Check, check and check. Wonderful submission!
 I made it 
  July 30, 2017
Quoting Johan van der Pluijm Great presentation of an original idea! Did I sense some experience in the examples of the introduction?
Thanks, Johan! Hmmm, how do I feel about answering that? Let's see.... The Emotigon says, "Busted!"
 I like it 
  July 30, 2017
Great presentation of an original idea! Did I sense some experience in the examples of the introduction?
 I made it 
  July 30, 2017
Quoting jds 7777 Better yet, give your lawyer the Emotigon! Then he can provide the judge with the ideal emotional response to any situation! Heck, you could even give some to the judge and jury while your at it!
It would certainly be a great way to deadlock a jury. Foreman: "We've been deliberating for 3 weeks now. One last time: How do you feel about this murder?" [Hurried spinning sounds.] Juror No 1. Meh. No 2. Just sick about the whole thing. No 3. Silly. No 4. Furious. No 5. Cold-hearted. No 6. Standoffish. No 7. Disapproving. No. 8. Happy. No. 9. Cantankerous. No. 10. Really, really scared. No. 11. Dazed. No. 12. Stiffled. Foreman: "That's it -- I give up!"
 I made it 
  July 30, 2017
Quoting Clayton Marchetti This is awesome! Does it come in a travel size. Like the mini chessboard game that folds up in a box? :-) you could also make one for people with multiple personality disorder or those who can't seem to decide there gender ha ha ha! The possibilities are endless! Outstanding!
Thanks, Clayton! Great idea! Imagine the uses on a trip to see the in-laws.
 I like it 
  July 30, 2017
This is awesome! Does it come in a travel size. Like the mini chessboard game that folds up in a box? :-) you could also make one for people with multiple personality disorder or those who can't seem to decide there gender ha ha ha! The possibilities are endless! Outstanding!
 I like it 
  July 29, 2017
Better yet, give your lawyer the Emotigon! Then he can provide the judge with the ideal emotional response to any situation! Heck, you could even give some to the judge and jury while your at it!
 I made it 
  July 28, 2017
Quoting jds 7777 You should make an app version of this! Then it can be portable! Imagine the possibilities! I cannot foresee this ever going horribly wrong!
That occurred to me, too. Who knows, maybe the app already exists. First, you'd need a lawyer to see if there's any way to duck liability for all the divorces, firings, black eyes, and nights on the sofa. Hmmm, maybe I already need a lawyer.
 I like it 
  July 28, 2017
You should make an app version of this! Then it can be portable! Imagine the possibilities! I cannot foresee this ever going horribly wrong!
 I made it 
  July 28, 2017
Quoting Builder Allan Hehe, original! A very fun idea. Nice bit about probability studies in dice etc too :-)
Very kind, Allan! It was fun to look under the hood of mechanical randomizers.
 I made it 
  July 28, 2017
Quoting Nick Barrett At last! The answer to my prayers! I need one of these; never knowing what to feel or more precisely, what I'm epected to feel but almost never do...
I find myself in the same fix all too often. When I just can't handle another emotional dilemma, the Emotigon saves the day.
 I like it 
  July 27, 2017
Hehe, original! A very fun idea. Nice bit about probability studies in dice etc too :-)
 I like it 
  July 27, 2017
At last! The answer to my prayers! I need one of these; never knowing what to feel or more precisely, what I'm epected to feel but almost never do...
  July 26, 2017
Thanks a lot my friend and apologize the typos in the messages before XD Yes, the rain is over now, but flooding is still ongoing.
 I made it 
  July 26, 2017
Quoting Sven ;o) If I could, I would do. Today the situation turned really bad in some areas which major flooding, damage and chaos. But luckily not here in our village. We got more than 130mm rain within 48 hours. The more affected areas got over 250mm.
Glad to hear you and your family are safe, Sven. Man, that's a lot of rain -- no wonder there's flooding! May it end soon.
 I like it 
  July 26, 2017
If I could, I would do. Today the situation turned really bad in some areas which major flooding, damage and chaos. But luckily not here in our village. We got more than 130mm rain within 48 hours. The more affected areas got over 250mm.
 I made it 
  July 26, 2017
Quoting Oran Cruzen Haha, your head should be really spinning now! Oh, wait, you are Top Spinner Master!
Thanks, Oran! Yes, I'm afraid my head is always spinning these days.
 I like it 
  July 26, 2017
Haha, your head should be really spinning now! Oh, wait, you are Top Spinner Master!
 I made it 
  July 26, 2017
Quoting Doug Hughes Such a fun idea haha, awesome build!
Many thanks, Doug!
 I made it 
  July 26, 2017
Quoting Gabor Pauler Ha-ha, in Eastern Europe, we have a similar game called strip+vodka+roulette...
Sounds like fun, Gabor! Guessing that feelings might be less important in strip+vodka+roulette.
 I like it 
  July 25, 2017
Such a fun idea haha, awesome build!
 I like it 
  July 25, 2017
Ha-ha, in Eastern Europe, we have a similar game called strip+vodka+roulette...
 I made it 
  July 25, 2017
Quoting Daniel H. LOL! That's absolutely awesome. Love it! Great work! :)
Very kind, Daniel!
 I made it 
  July 25, 2017
Quoting The walrus Is always watching... Haha! Very nice!
Thanks! So that walrus was watching the other day when I ... uh ... never mind!
 I like it 
  July 25, 2017
LOL! That's absolutely awesome. Love it! Great work! :)
 I made it 
  July 25, 2017
Quoting Jonathan Demers This is hilarious!! XD Nice work my friend! It could be quite useful...
Thanks, Jonathan! I never realized just how draining genuine feelings can be.
 I made it 
  July 25, 2017
Quoting Oliver Becker So THIS is for emotional rescue, my friend? ;) Lovely idea and as professionally as humorous implemented! How do ya feel now...? :)
Yes, either rescue or the emotional firing squad. Personally, I'm feeling quite happy that you stopped by. No, really.
 I like it 
  July 25, 2017
Haha! Very nice!
 I like it 
  July 25, 2017
This is hilarious!! XD Nice work my friend! It could be quite useful...
 I like it 
  July 25, 2017
So THIS is for emotional rescue, my friend? ;) Lovely idea and as professionally as humorous implemented! How do ya feel now...? :)
 I made it 
  July 25, 2017
Quoting Sven ;o) Haha, that's a pretty cool one my friend! Really like what you did here. And I got the president pun XD Yeah that's true. As always a great presentation and explanation how it's working. Greets from a very rainy Germany. Having rain since 48h and more will come. Caused partly maor flooding nearby. But were fine and not directly affected.
Glad you got a kick out of it, Sven! Finally, a practical use for minifigs! We're having the opposite problem here in sunny Colorado. Perhaps we could borrow some of your rain.
 I like it 
  July 25, 2017
Haha, that's a pretty cool one my friend! Really like what you did here. And I got the president pun XD Yeah that's true. As always a great presentation and explanation how it's working. Greets from a very rainy Germany. Having rain since 48h and more will come. Caused partly maor flooding nearby. But were fine and not directly affected.
 
By Jeremy McCreary
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