Category Archives: PROJECTS

Vibrant Alley – Revitalizing Dead Spaces



The urban environment combines various spaces and paths that are used by people everyday. However, the access to such spaces is filtered through different times of the day, particularly at dusk and night. These restrictions begin to construct an issue of accessibility to desired or needed spaces. Such locations can be defined as “dead spaces” or undesirable paths due to a lack of safety or control in the space. Therefore, the idea of this project is to design a system that allows for dead space to be accessible.

Our proposal is to create a space that can be desired as an accessible path for people, particularly in the interests of safety. To do so, we want to improve lighting as a means of attracting people into a space. The lighting is then a customary element of control for the user. In other words, the person walking through the space controls the motion and angles of soft light beams simply through their position in space. Conceptually, the number and angles of light being generated produce a canvas of light surrounding the user as well as creating a lit path for them to follow, and hence a desirable and safer space for one to use.

In our prototype, we purposes LEDs and servo motors to direct the lights based on an object’s position in the grid, but on a full scale model, a brighter beam would be necessary for the project.

In the first video, a close up of one servo can be seen–the motor’s movement redirects the light to each location.

In the second video, the motors can be seen sweeping from the left side to the right–they are alternately pointing to the leftmost pad, then the center, then the rightmost, with a short delay in between. Although we could not get the motion detection to work completely correctly, the motors do have the capacity to point to specific coordinates in a coordinated manner.

Screenshot 2014-12-15 11.42.22

finalvid [Concept Video]

-Tessa Crawford, Angelo Razo, Mathew Hoffman, Tanay Nandgaonkar

Space Jam: An Interactive Manipulation of Public Space Through Sound

Lonely Spaces

Many public spaces in our urban environments lack liveliness, and do not bolster interaction between people previously unacquainted.  With this project, our intent is to improve this potential for interaction through the amplification of connections.

Amplify Connections

With the use of music actuated as a background track via the presence of occupants, the space will utilize triggered samples matching the background track to give users the ability to add to the song, creating an additive composition of music, interaction, and whimsy.

Typology of Vibes


By collecting current weather information, we have designed our system to select a background track based on predetermined weather typologies reflecting the vibe of the day.  

Weather Typologies

This begins the experience, and also selects the array of additive samples to be triggered by occupants as they move through the space.  Using triggers within the paving field that are unlabeled initially evokes a sense of singular experience within the user.  With repeated movement through the space, however, users gain the opportunity to learn of their control over the stimulus.  This allows them to begin participating in many ways, both facilitated with other users, or as individual agents.

Parts Diagram 2

The system as a whole is activated through the use of a Passive Infrared Sensor (PIR), which detects when any person enters the space.  This triggers a collection of weather data from the weather shield integrated with the Arduino microcontroller.   The attributes of weather, humidity, light level, and barometric pressure, are compiled and converted to a binary signal to be used by our Processing code, which controls the music bank selection and playback.

Within the paving field, high sensitivity piezo film sensors detect the movement of users and send analog signals to the Arduino.  Using a sensitivity threshold within the Arduino code, the signal is sent to the Processing program as a cue to activate samples.  Having the sample bank already selected based on the weather information, these additive music samples match the background track in tone and feeling.  This leaves their timing to be controlled by the occupants, thus giving them control.


In the testing of our prototype, we took short videos of multiple stages of the system to demonstrate them as separate functions.  We used the simplified versions of these functions to test them, and then accumulated them into a full system.  Due to unpredictability of low quality piezo disks, the demonstration utilized buttons to convey intent of concept.  Videos of two weather typology sound banks are below:

Group Members:

Kevin Lenhart

Erica Nagy

Mariel Steiner

Patrick Webb

Battle Ship at Bus Stops

The purpose of ‘battleship at bus stops’ project was to develop a prototype that could be installed in public spaces to encourage social interaction through the use of games. The bus stop was chosen due to its temporal aspect which draws a number of individuals in one area for a brief period of time thus allowing for the opportunity to develop social interaction between strangers. Battle ship was chosen due to its turn based gameplay which allowed individuals to make their move one at a time.


Our project began by attempting to install individual micro controllers known as AT Tiny to light multiple LED’s on the game board but then we discovered that a range of LED’s connected to one wire was already available for purchase online so we decided to go with that instead.
Below is how we attempted to develop a communication with the AT Tiny and the arduino board.

Other components of the project include the Kinect which captures the movement of the players engaged in the battleship game and generates a digital pattern on the back face of the bus stop thus developing public art through the act of social interaction.

This is how we researched how to develop our project through the use of the kinect:

The prototype of the board was developed with the use of the arduino board to develop the circuit and a potentiometer to switch between the LED grid by varying voltage values.

We intend to develop this project further by implementing games in spaces like the bus stop which draw public activity and create opportunities for social interaction.

Team Members:

Eleanna Panagoulia
Mohammad Momenabadi
Namju Lee
Shahzada Mustafa Ahmad

Interactive Digital Matrix


Our project takes simple components that can be used to motorize any operation and control it with motion.  We have focused our  efforts on the  issues of the modern human who needs to be socialized  in group work. Our proposed installation can be placed anywhere in a city designated to gather people for interaction. The use of the Arduino modernizes the mediums that are used in traditional installations and allows city dwellers to interact with  the space around them and people. The chime installation will produce different sounds in each  of the five rows. Each row will be controlled by a different Arduino and Leap Motion, allowing up to five people to work together to create a rhythm  with different notes.
This type of installation would be best used during welcoming or team building events. For example, the CED open house or school events during the beginning of the semester that are meant to welcome new people into a community or group. The moving matrix can be used as a fun, large scale ice breaker for groups of five people to interact with each other. If particular goals are set for the users, for example to make a familiar tune by coordinating row tempos, the installation can be used for team building purposes.

 Work flow:

work flow
work flow

Take gesture as input, and the whole working process is based on the transition from gesture to physical visualization. It’s accomplished step by step, as the work flow chart shows above.

Gesture Capturing

The device we used to capture gesture is leap motion. Based on the previous post about the processing library of leap motion, we are able to utilize the vector(including speed, position and so on) acquired by leap motion to do further visualization process.

Wave Visualization 

Design Space of wave patterns
Design Space of wave patterns


Working on the visualization of vectors captured by leap, we decide to use the wave patterns. Above is a design space of some possible wave patterns generated.

The code concerning the wave simulation process can be accessed through the previous post of “Wave Simulation in Processing”.

We have chose the wave pattern we deem works best based on the design space , and simulated the movable pattern using processing. Here are two video of that simulation, in either 2D and 3d.

LED Matrix test

The LED matrix can be used to physically display the visual data from processor. It also serves as a test for the circuitry and coding.  The concept of an LED matrix could be used instead of a motorized system for an installation, especially if it is to be a night installation, say for the winter holiday season. The concept of interaction of the user with the installation and others in the space can also be accomplished with  an LED matrix.


The details concerning the LED matrix can be accessed through “How to Build a 5X5 LED Matrix”.

Here is a video about our Multi-LED test:



 Multi-Servo Test

This process is the way to turn data acquired by leap motion into physical movement. It is also the bridge of digital to physical.

We tested the possibility of controlling 4 servo’s movement based on the position of gesture.


Here is the video showing the controlling process.

 Physical installation

In order to convert the rotation of servo or motor, we have designed the physical installation of pulling balls by motor.

set big per top

/Users/JERRY/Desktop/MyBat_Shapeoko_004_Y_Axis_Motor_Mount_Plate set small


Team member:

Wenzhe Peng | Janet Torres | Jianjia Xu | Yuqing Nie

Particle Wave – Using light to reveal air quality and wind

Particle wave is a prototype installation that uses a string of LEDs, sensors, and Arduino microcontroller to reveal spatial and temporal changes in air pollution in the urban environment. The ultimate goal of the project is to create an array of poles that could be installed in vacant lots near freeways or other sources of urban air pollution.


Our first prototype works!

In the future we plan on using more accurate pollution sensors, refining the way that data is expressed through the RGB LEDs, and considering the deployment of similar device throughout the urban fabric instead of solely as a temporary art exhibit.

Team Members:

Joe Burg

Elaine Laguerta

Kyle O’Konis

Grant Saita