pplkpr is an app that tracks, analyzes, and auto-manages your relationships. Using a smartwatch, pplkpr monitors your physical and emotional response to the people around you, and optimizes your social life accordingly.

pplkpr notices when you're hanging out with someone or feeling emotional and prompts you to report.

You fill out the details and pplkpr aggregates and analyzes your data looking for trends.

pplkpr gives you a breakdown of who's affecting you most, and acts for you — inviting people to hang out, sending messages, or blocking or unfriending negative friends.

See how your friends stack up: who makes you most excited, anxious, calm, or bored.

pplkpr uses GPS and a heart rate wristband to keep track of when you're coming and going, and when you're feeling emotional. pplkpr implements a complex metric called "heart rate variability" that uses subtle changes in heart rhythm to determine your emotional state. This data is correlated with the people you interact with to determine who should be auto-scheduled into your life and who should be removed.

pplkpr's emotion classification algorithm was trained on open data published by academic researchers.

Heart rate variability is based on the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, which operate at different frequencies.

pplkpr was created by Lauren McCarthy and Kyle McDonald to explore the implications of quantified living for relationships. Who owns the data created between two people, what if it is captured and used? What if algorithms could understand our relationships and make better interpersonal decisions than we can ourselves?

pplkpr started with over a year of research and experimentation, and eventually took the form of an iOS app ready for short term daily-life performances. The first performance of pplkpr was conducted with a group of students at Carnegie Mellon University. For one week, their stress levels were carefully monitored while their social lives were manipulated accordingly. During this performance, the students used a modified version of pplkpr that was able to control their social media.


"pplkpr helped me get a boyfriend" — Micah, pplkpr user


"it gave me the excuse to cut toxic friends out of my life" — Jake, pplkpr user

frequently asked questions


Can I use pplkpr without a device?
Yes. Just add a report manually whenever you feel something, instead of waiting for the notification.

When does pplkpr notify me?
pplkpr notifies you when it detects heightened emotion, and asks you to report how you’re feeling. It also notifies you when you change locations, to ask if you’ve just left or are about to meet someone. The more you use it, pplkpr will learn to match your patterns.

How does pplkpr know my emotions?
pplkpr is based on measurements of heart rate variability, where subtle changes in heart rhythm signal changes in your emotional state. pplkpr knows when you’re having a strong emotion, and lets you decide what that emotion is.

Where is my data stored, and who has access?
pplkpr stores your data on your phone, so only you have access.

What sorts of actions will pplkpr take on my behalf?
pplkpr can compose text messages, invite people to hang out, or block or delete their contact. These actions will appear on your home screen as they happen.

Which heart rate devices work with pplkpr?
pplkpr has been extensively tested with the Mio wristband, but any Bluetooth LE (also called Bluetooth Smart or Bluetooth 4.0) device that transmits heart rate in real time will work. This includes the Polar H7 chest band and the Zephyr HxM.

When will pplkpr be available for Android?
We are exploring the possibility of an Android app, but it is not yet available.

Is this a real app or an art project?
It is both. It is a fully functioning app based on scientific research. We are two artists that created it as a provocation, a taste of where we may be heading with our quantified living and algorithmic decision making. It relates to some previous projects we’ve made like us+, Social Turkers, and Conversnitch. We hope that seeing and trying the app will enable people to think critically about this future and speak out about what we do and don't want to manifest.

Lauren McCarthy and Kyle McDonald
Identity Remeike Forbes Video David Leonard Additional Development David Newbury CMU Performance Charlie Burlingham, Chris Copeland, Gijsbreght De Bree, Kira Melville, Miles Peyton, Charlotte Stiles, Alex Walker, Maddy Varner Arousing Guy Aaron Meyers

For more information contact hi@pplkpr.com.


This work was developed in part through a residency at the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, with support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and through a residency at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center.