DayLight detector by Unnikrishnan Kalidas




Project description:

The idea for this project is to detect the amount of light outside the room and provide a signal using an LED to inform if the light outside is high intensity, medium intensity, or low intensity. I have used an LDR sensor to get the data of the amount of light and three different colored LED’s to signify the daylight measurement.  Three states of light outdoors are hence measured with this experiment.

When the LDR senses bright daylight the red LED blinks, similarly when the LDR senses medium or cloudy daylight, the yellow LED blinks, and upon sensing low light or evening light the blue LED blinks.

Experience video:

Behind the scenes and How it works:

Key project images:



Development images:




Link to the Arduino code hosted on Github :


Tinkercad circuit:


Project Context 

This project is inspired by ‘The light rose garden, Chengdu’ A public art installation made up of 25,000 LED roses that light up every evening at 6 pm in Chengdu, China. Designed to celebrate love and romance, “Light Rose Garden” by Hong Kong-based creative agency AllRightsReserved is a traveling installation. I tried to replicate the same mechanism of sensing the daylight intensity from this project and create a simple measuring tool to sense the amount of daylight sensed using the LDR. I wanted to create something which can be functionally used on a daily basis.

The data provided by the LDR varies from 0-1023. I separated this into three sections to determine the different times of sunlight intensity and integrated it into Arduino code to light up three different LEDs to signify the different intensities. The project works with three different light intensity settings lighting up a different LED using an if statement in the code.




Digital Nose Pen by Unnikrishnan Kalidas


This experiment is a simple project to visualize the body as a controller on a Digital interface like a computer screen. The idea was inspired by the ‘ Nose Scribbler’ by Luisa Pereira, which was shared with us initially as an example pertaining to this particular Experiment. The project involved using tools such as p5.js to draw and ml5 and PoseNet to identify the nose pointer on the video footage that is fed into the code with the help of the webcam on a computer. ml5 and PoseNet identifies the nose pointer skeleton from the video footage and saves it as one set of data, while p5 identifies this data and creates a corresponding dot on the pointer for every frame of the video footage. Both the pieces of information are then overlapped onto one another and presented finally as the nose drawing NosePen.

Present  :

Edit         :

NosePen experience video : final-nose



Brief description of the study:  The project entailed using two different tools to be integrated and used to create a digital pen using a body part. As a further extension to this project other parts that are identified by the ml5 skeleton could be used, also the depth information could be implemented to the interaction. Initially, the size of the dot that follows and the positional difference of the point affected the smoothness of the drawing and hence made it more jittery. This was later on resolved.

Project Context: 

The initial idea was to create a simple project that can be executed well due to the time constraint. The ‘Nose Scribbler’ project presented during the course was the inspiration to this project. A further addition to this experiment in my opinion would be to create a modulating sound device to the system which could then create a digital installation where in artist could move on screen and modulate the sounds simultaeneously.

Another simple and interesting project I came across was ‘Cat face’;  A project  to insert elements of a cat onto a recognized face by By Denisa Marcisovska, where in PoseNet and ml5 detect a face fed into the system and adds ears, nose and whiskers to make a cat face.

Nose Scribbler :

Cat face :

Bibliography :



MVP Console

MVP Console


Project Description

MVP Console is an interactive installation based on the tangible interface experience. Players are invited to play with three digital activities created in Processing: Core ball, Spinning Music, and Starry Drum. MVP Console is a handmade cardboard box with 5 aluminum foil buttons that attached the 5 pins from MPR121 touch sensor. In this project, MVP Console stands for Musical, Visual, Physical Console; it makes the players enjoy physical touching, music creating, and music visualization. The players could switch the card paper upon the box to play the matching activities.

The first activity is Starry Drum. Once the player touches the buttons, they would hear constant drum beats and the starry dots would appear on the screen. Every button represents a different part of the drum and the different sizes of the starry dots. The dots would fade away once the new dots appear. In this activity, the players are creating an image of a starry sky and play with the drum at the same time. 

The second activity is Spinning Music. The players could touch the button to play the songs and watching the spinning pattern, which is the music visualization. There are 5 songs overall, the spinning pattern would change color and speed that matches for each song. The songs I used are Woodkid’s music: “L’aérogramme de Los Angeles”, “Iron (Quintet Version)”, “I Love You”, “Iron” and “Run Boy Run”. The spinning pattern and song would stop once the player releases the button, it is a unique way to touch with music and visuals.

The last activity clones a popular phone game, Core ball. The players need to shoot the given needles to the rotating circle. Every shot needle would be stuck and rotate with the circle. If your needle hits an existing needle on the circle, it will be automatically judged lose by the system, you need to restart to continue. The screen would turn blue when you win the level, and red if you lose the game. The players need to press three aluminum button that labeled C, S, and SHOOT! to play, everything is drawn and labeled on the card paper. The players can see their level on the screen, and the number of needles left in the center of the circle. The higher the level, the more needles you need to shoot. 

Experience Video

How it works

Final project images






Development images


img_2306 img_2309


Link to the Arduino code hosted on Github

Circuit Diagram



Project Context

MVP Console is inspired by my favourite entertainment and learning device in my childhood, an electronic dictionary. It is like a small size laptop, it was heavy but convenient. Other than look up the vocabulary on it, it is my “all-purpose media player”. It could be the music player, and once the music is playing, the screen would show the music visualization, which is the spinning firework pattern. Although it has a dull green dot-matrix screen and it has only one song, its music visualization was like magic to me in my childhood. It is also my game console, it has one game, Snake, which always made me lose time track. Finally, it is also my musical instrument. Every button has a different sound effect, I used that to cover all popular songs in that period, I even used that to perform in the music class. The electronic dictionary is now obsolete, its functions are simple, but it gave me countless happy memories. I want to recreate my childhood memories.

Once I know the theme of Experiment 3, Tangible interfaces, the first thing pop into my mind is about music. It reminded me of the tap-tap games, they have the perfect combination of touching, visual, and music. Other than that, it also reminded me of the electronic devices that could imitate the sound of real musical instruments, which could be a more convenient way of composing music. It could also be about music visualization, combining the physical interaction with the seem music could be an inspiring experience. Music is important in my life. It affects my emotion, and it is completely connected with my vision. I composed with my vision and I listen to create images.

For this project, I want to explore the relationship between music, visual, and physical. I want to make an “all-purposed media player”, an “old game console”. Inspired by Tyler Crumpton’s Capacitive-Touch Arduino Keyboard Piano, I want to make the button with aluminum foil, tapes, and cardboard as my material. I made a cardboard box with 5 square holes on the top, and I sticked aluminum foil under each hole. There are three card papers with my drawing and holes that fit each game.  The players could switch the card paper on the box, like switching the disk of the game console. The touch of aluminum foil buttons is the Physical part of my MVP console. 

I used the sound effect of the button from my electronic dictionary to make music. Even the musical instrument are not with me, I could make music. It is kind of like the calculator cover music, which is now very popular. It is a creative new way to make music with unconventional methods. Each button of the musical calculators corresponding to a musical note. With two calculators, the players could try the classic piano-playing method of using both hands. (Lee) It is quite inspiring, as to play music with 5 buttons, I want to recreate it with the sound of drumbeats. When I was learning drums, with the practicing with the speed of beating, the countless beats in a second make me imagine a thousand-star sparkle, the stars blink with the rhythm. I want to combine those visual imaginations with the sound of the drumbeat. I purposely make the drumbeat unstoppable if the touch isn’t released, there is no single beat. To fit the speed of the drumbeat and the endless stars. Repeating the same sound could be beautiful, same as visuals.

Spinning Music is a musical visualization of the rotating pattern. The looping rotating pattern always makes me lost the time track for just staring at it. After watching the tutorial of the rotating pattern on Youtube, I think it could fit the music well, it could be the animation of music visualization. By changing the speed and color of it, it could work with music in different styles. That is one of the reasons I chose Woodkid’s music, he has various styles. His songs get to my emotions and speak to me a lot. The visual and the music reflects what he states “I like to translate sounds into images and images into sounds”(Dellarciprete) The pattern would keep rotating when we touch the button, when we stop it, even the pattern is static, we would feel like it’s rotating backward. It creates an optical illusion, which also indicated the melodies was stuck in our minds. Music affects our mood, and we are exploring 5 different emotions and memories in our mind in this activity. 

Coreball is a popular phone game, I fit it with the shooting sound effect. As there are 5 buttons overall and we only need 3, so I cut  3 holes on the card paper. After we are familiar with the game, we could form beautiful patterns, like the dandelion. The game rule is simple but quite addictive. Every shooting needle combines the human touch and sound effect. 

Overall, with the topic of the tangible interface, I make the viewers explore 3 types of touching. In Core ball, we used a single click to have one shoot and sound effect. In Starry Drum, the drum sound is constantly beating after we touch the button, we would not hear a single beat. In Spinning Music, the music start when we touch it, and we need to hold the button to keep the music playing, it would only stop when we release it. I want to make it like a real game console, with only a few buttons, but you can play multiple games. 



Crumpton, Tyler. “Capacitive-Touch Arduino Keyboard Piano.” Instructables, Instructables, 23 Oct. 2017,

Dellarciprete, Alex. “Woodkid’s The Golden Age – An Analysis of an Audiovisual Experience.” Medium, Medium, 12 Dec. 2017, 

Lee, Dami. “Calculators Are the Latest Instrument Used in Creative New Ways to Make Electronic Music.” The Verge, The Verge, 11 Oct. 2017, 




Team: Jay Cooper, Bernice Lai

Project description

NINE is a remote asynchronous messaging system that uses LEDs to codify communication between two users. LEDs are arranged in a 3×3 grid and activated using touch sensors. Users can touch the surface near an LED to activate the LED on their partner’s device while turning off their own. This signals to the partner “I have received your message”, creating a constant back and forth between acknowledging each other’s messages.

NINE is like a “mood board”. The users are sending their present state with LED. They can then “acknowledge” the other person’s mood by turning off the light to marked as seen.

Experience Video

How It Works Video

1 2



Final Images








microsoftteams-image-4 microsoftteams-image-3

microsoftteams-image microsoftteams-image-1_%e5%89%af%e6%9c%ac



Link to the Arduino code

Circuit diagram


Project Context

NINE is an interactive project for long-distance communication; it combines the LED and physical touching to build interpersonal communication. We use light as a signal to messaging each other our moods. The remote presence overcame the distance to know the mood of their friend synchronously. The LED in 9 different positions represents 9 different moods, NINE is connecting people over distance and time zone.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, people are using more social media, email, phone texting, etc, to communicate with each other, the way people express feelings and emotions through the physical environment is weakened. Since the home is a safer place to stay in and we cannot meet up with our friend, remote presence should be developed more as it is a good choice to stay at home, even in another city, another country. 

For making this project, we are inspired by the friendship lights and IoTConnected Chess Boards. Both of them are physical interaction with lights. Friendship lamps are designed for a long-distance relationship. A simple touch could change the colour of the light and turn on the lights on the other side to signal the person. The lamps are connected to the wifi, it could interact with your friend or lover in real-time even if they are far away. Turn the lights on and change the colour of the light on the other side is a beautiful representation of telling us we are thinking of each other.

IoT Connected Chess Board is an electronic chess board that connects to Wi-Fi. Each of the users would get the board with the pieces of one side (black or white). The board would light up to indicate where the other player pieces. and the colour coded red for rooks, green for Knights, blue for bishops, purple for Queens, Pawns are white and yellow slash gold for kings. Once the person on the other side moves the pieces, the light would change on your side. It’s a really strong interaction with friends rather than just play it online. The use of the physical environment and the light colours with different representations makes them feel like the other player is right in front of them.

Our project connects people in a thoughtful way. Once a person wants to talk with their friend, there must be a reason, maybe it is what happened to them, or it may be a topic to be discussed, mood and emotion may be important reasons for chatting. Just like what happened to them that made them happy, they wanted to share with their friends. If they are angry, they need someone to complain. We can know the state of our friends in the first place and signal them back to tell us we are available. The relationship between friends or lovers would bond two people together, they could have a personalized interaction with each other. They could decide what each of the 9 LEDs represent, to make it their own password. 

As we decided each LEDs represent a mood, we used two different ways to know what we want to tell. Jay is using the labels, he sticks them next to the light to know which mood he wants to message to Bernice. Bernice is using the colours of paper and lights to know the mood. We want to make the work more decorative, so Bernice folds the origami lamps on each LED with various colour paper. Red represents angry, blue is joy, white is fresh, yellow is happy, pink is curious, green is hungry, black is bored, purple is fear and orange is excited. The colourful papercraft looks like the wagashi dessert on the plate. 

In our project, each touch button can instantly blink the LED, and the LED on the other users’ side would remain on until the other user turns it off. This is an exchange of our state to each other. NINE used 9 lights to tell us how your friend is doing. Sometimes, to know how a friend feels, the object could be more representative than the words. The combination of remote presence and physical touch makes people feel closer rather than video chatting or texting, it’s closer to in-person interaction.




Sarah Al-Mutlaq, Sarah. “T³: Connected Chess Boards.” News – SparkFun Electronics,


Uncommon Goods Blog Team. “Touch, Technology, and Giving Back: Meet the Creators of the Long Distance Friendship Lamp -.” The Goods, 24 July. 2017,


Yes, I am available. No, I am busy!

Yes, I am available. No, I am busy!  


Team : Achal Shah, Jamie Yuan

Project description

Yes, I am available. No, I am busy, is a small message box which sends and receives data in the form of blinking led’s between different participants. Leds work as a source of message, where the messages are pre assigned unanimously by the participants. The experiment uses the PubNub channel to send/receive messages, microprocessor Arduino Nano33 iot acts as brains which takes in the data from the sensor and it’s own channel and shares it through Wifi to real time communication platform and the interaction is based on the Adafruit MDR121 Touch sensor. All of them combined manipulates the on/off state of the leds when pressed.

The concept works in a way that a box is made by both the participants where inside it are 4 leds: two red and two yellow/green leds(Whichever was available locally and easily). These 4 leds are divided into 2 parts, each part for each participant – 2. For both the participants red led describes the message that both of them are busy  and the green led or the yellow stands for the status that they are available. If you want to tell the other person about your current status, just press the certain key from the touch sensor and the data is reflected on to both of the participants’ boxes. From time to time the participants can change their status according to their availability.

Experience video

How it works


Final Images :

img_20201207_231223393  jamie_lightheic


Development :

img_20201208_104440552     img_20201208_104420000


GitHub :


User 1          jamie


User 2       achal


Project Context

We all have a lot going on right now and adding to it, with us being students we face difficulties in uncertain ways with connecting to our faculties and batch-mates whenever we are in need of any guidance. All of us belongs from so many different time zones that it gets difficult after a point of time to keep a track of what time it would be for that individual at the opposite end and what that person would be doing. Our model for the experiment hints a solution towards that issue. The data we are receiving and sending through a touch button is converted to a physical output of blinking leds which serves the purpose of answering without saying whether that person is available at that time or is busy.  We are using two different colors of leds, where the red led is common for both of us which conveys the message that we are busy till the moment we turn that led off. The other two different leds used are green and yellow which share the same message that they are free/available.

A part of the project is developed from the idea that how we are using the technology around us and in particular messaging applications through those systems. The whole game of sharing, happening in that space works on the method where two or more individuals distant from each other share their current physical and emotional status through their devices which benefits the opposite person to understand more about the others position. To narrow down the context of the example we built a virtual messaging box which lets the users know the status of the availability of the other. Whenever, next time we get together for another project, we don’t have to continuously keep on texting each other and ask at what time they are available and no one has to feel guilty for not being able to make it up for teams meeting.

Just keep the light on!

One of the model made by a participant is inspired by the art works of Iván Navarro. Iván Navarro is a Chilean artist who works with light, mirrors, and glowing glass tubes to craft socially and politically relevant sculptures and installations. The participant believes that Ivan’s work has a sense of echo and is loud at the same moment. The reason to approach his style for the output was because the message box lets you connect to your friends from different time/space and the box visually serves the purpose of un-ending repetitions/echoes, seems like the echo can go to any location you an imagine.

We stumbled upon a weird Virtual Kissing machine, which does what it’s name suggests. Two participants, mostly lovers from different spaces can send kisses to each other over that machine and the haptics inside the machine makes you feel as if the feeling is real.


“Iván Navarro (Artist).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 9 Apr. 2020,

Zhang , Emma Yann. “Designing a Multimodal Haptic Device for Virtual Kissing.” Invesforesight, 13 Sept. 2019,

Experiment 5 Secret Santa By Group 6

Secret Santa

By Group 6: Kristjan Buckingham, Jessy (Xin Zhang)





Project description 

As socially distanced Christmas is becoming a reality for many families this year, it is important to find ways to stay connected and be present despite the distance. Secret Santa allows users to be present in each other’s homes through passive interactions. Every time a gift is added to one of three stockings, a message is sent to the other user’s home, so the recipient has the chance to catch a glimpse of their “Secret Santa” leaving them a present. Since many gifts will have to be mailed, this interaction mimics the anticipation of watching presents pile up under the tree.

The stockings are lined with conductive tape connected to a capacitive touch sensor which lights up LEDs to let the sender know the message has been sent. Once a message is received, this lights up different LEDs to notify the recipient that another gift has been added to their stocking from afar.

Since the LEDs lighting up is a relatively subtle effect that fades after a short time, the user who receives the message has to be lucky enough to catch it, which adds to the excitement of knowing that another present is on its way. The touch sensors could also be used in different ways to develop other meanings or secret messages for one another. Although Secret Santa focuses on gift-giving as the primary interaction, it is more about letting loved ones know they are being thought of even if it may not be possible to be together.

Experience Video 


How It Works Video 

Final project images 




Development images 






Link to the Arduino code hosted on Github

Player 1
Player 2:


Circuit Diagram 

Kristjan’s Circuit


Jessy’s Circuitscreen-shot-2020-12-04-at-9-07-50-pm


Project Context

Secret Santa is an interactive project, combining light and remote presence to build interpersonal communication.  From the perspective of interaction, it is also a multiplayer game based on remote presence. When there are more than three players, this installation could be more playful. As any player’s action can have the same effect on a remote device, players can guess among themselves who triggered the device.

Generally, light is a sign of presence, when people come home after a day’s work, the most common thing we do is to turn on the lights. ‘The use of light is also essential to show that you are at home and to manifest the presence of life.’ In other words, light can indicate the presence. In our project, we use light as a signal to indicate the container has been occupied and the presence of the object.

Additionally, for remote presence, nowadays, phones have provided synchronous voice or face-to-face communication and to some extent asynchronous messaging. This remote delivery and control give people an opportunity to overcome the geographic distance to get to know what happened in the other place, however, the way people previously conveyed emotions or relationships through objects is weakening. ‘We all have our own experiences of postcards and pictures hanging on refrigerators and mirrors in our homes. These common artifacts exhibit often a link between individuals.’ Through this work, we want to build a connection through a series of activities that happened mostly from life. As daily activities can increase people’s emotional resonance to increase remote communication. Although the legend of Santa Claus only exists in the children’s world, these recognized symbols could be the representation of the festival. This cognitive consensus is the basis for motivating people to communicate remotely. When one person touched or placed objects in Christmas stockings, sensory lights in the straps turn on in two places, it could be a reminder for the other one to do the same thing or could view as a way of communication.


  1. “Maintaining human connection in time of social distancing.” Mayo Clinic Health System, 23 Mar. 2020, Accessed 2 Dec. 2020. 
  2. Szklarski, Cassandra. “Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season.” CTV News, 29 Oct. 2020, Accessed 2 Dec. 2020. 
  3. ‘Understanding Remote Presence,’ Konrad Tollmar & Joakim Persson, NordiCHI, October 19-23, 2002 





Goodnight & Good Morning


Group Members

Grace Yuan, Abhishek Nishu

Project Description

Our project Goodnight & Good Morning is inspired by conversations me & Grace have had over our past remote fall semester. Each time we conversed, we began with asking each other the time and whether the other person was awake in order to have discussions on our projects. Regardless of all the technology we have the answer to this question didn’t come to us in an obvious way. So we took this project as an opportunity to design an object that would not only aesthetically fit itself in our space, but also visually represent day and night of our two cities across the world. Our daylight clocks take the form of  a Shadow box, where each box consists of a single graphic broken down into multiple layers with a light source behind creating shadows. We further wished to introduce a piece of culture in one another’s space and so we each designed the visuals to the other person’s Shadow box. Grace’s shadow box uses a Mughal painting designed by me and mine to represent Chinese architecture that Grace grew up around. 

nishus-layersMughal painting layers

graces-layersChinese architecture layers

As the sun rises in Mumbai (India) and sets in San Francisco (U.S.A), Grace’s Shadow Box light brightens and is completely illuminated during her night. The same action would occur the other way around with my Shadow Box coming on as the sun rose in California. This would help remind each whether it was day or night and when would be a good time to reach out.

With the help of an LDR(light dependent resistor) we are able to log the light intensity values in our environments and translate them into increasing and decreasing brightness of the LED’s. To also make the light values accurate, we performed an exercise documenting each other’s light levels so we could accordingly set our sensor ranges to react. We would further like to build this concept to include a sound input and that would help tap into the other senses and help send more detailed messages. 

Experience Video

Behind the scenes

Final project images

Grace’s final project images:





Nishu’s final project images:





Development images

1. Rough development of ideas




2. Testing & building circuit





3. Prototyping




4. First glimpse of prototype coming together



Link to the Arduino code hosted on Github

Circuit diagram


Project Context

“What time is it over there?” While working with our teammates located at different parts of the earth, we keep asking each other this one particular question over and over again.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, remote working has become “the new normal” and it’s common for people to work with someone who sits in another city, another timezone, and experiencing an opposite time of the day. The idea of informing one another of our local time intrigues us. As we explored the concept around time and daylight, one of the related works, Patch of Sky showed us the great potential of visualizing real-time information with the ambient approach. Patch of Sky is an interactive lamp, displaying colored light animation in response to the current Facebook location weather. It was developed with Arduino and BERGCloud, to bring the sky and nature into the interior and personal space. Reflecting on our project, by visualizing the time with the brightness of LEDs, we are creating a sense of companion in real time. The ambient light indicates both the daylight and the presence of the other person, offering a sense of warmth with the colored lights. When one person is asleep or turns off the light, the LEDs on the partner device also turn off as the person is not around. 

Coming to the form of the design, we want to tell a story through the device, to represent our own cultures and ourselves. In our vision, the device should also be a nice-looking object that we would love to keep and use to decorate our homes. The American Surrealist Artist Joseph Cornell is well-known for his interactive shadow box art. His shadow box artworks combine Constructivism and Surrealism with the juxtaposition of found objects and photographs. The particular structure of the shadow box inspired us, as it often integrates illustrations and storytellings with sophisticated details. The layering technique not only sets off the smooth visual effect of the LED lights but also adds depth and playfulness to the design. We studied a variety of paper-cut shadow boxes and decided to customize the shadow box designs. By creating a set of illustrated frames for each other, and making the device to represent one another, we learned about the Indian and Chinese cultures and opened up conversations throughout the process. Every time we look at the box, we not only read the time of the day across the devices but also understand the identity and message communicated through the design. It was a meaningful and joyful experience that involves bonding, laughter, stories, making, crafting, and a lot more. The journey of building the device becomes part of the final product, leaving us an embodiment of our partnership.

For our next step, we would like to share the resources and provide instructions to the public, to let people create their own communicating Goodnight and Good-Morning boxes. Thanks to the nature of the paper-cut shadow box, anyone who has access to the materials should be able to make their own and even customize the design based on their cultures, their stories, and the message they want to communicate. It’s suitable for friends, families, couples and any pair of persons who care about each other.

Citations & Bibliography

“Collection Online: Joseph Cornell”. Guggenheim,

The Joseph Cornell Box,

“Patch of Sky.”Fabrica Features, 2014,







The Emoting Lamp

By Patricia Mwenda and Candide Uyanze

Project Description

The Emoting Lamp is a creative computing experiment that utilizes remote sensing, emotions, and light. Designed as a two-person interaction, this project is comprised of two lamps which aim to mimic the non-verbal auras and cues exchanged during in-person communication. When one person’s mood changes, they approach the lamp and press the button. This will send a signal to the other person’s lamp, which will change colours, and will signal to the other person that their partner’s mood has shifted.

Vice versa, the other person can also signal their change in mood to their partner by pressing the button on their own lamp.

Experience Video

Project Context

The aim of the project was to expand and deconstruct the themes of this fifth and final experiment: “remote sensing” and “connecting physical environments”. Many of the guidelines and related works presented to us for this project focus on physical presence or phenomenon’s that can be tangibly measured or witnessed. Physical presence, however, goes beyond just being physically present: there’s touch, odours, warmth, sounds, tension, emotions.

The power of feelings

We chose to focus on the latter, because emotions can have a presence of their own. Someone’s mood can command the room, and even affect the other people present. We have all met people whose joy is contagious, or stepped into rooms where, as the youth say, “the vibes were off”. This energy isn’t as easy to transmit virtually. Our pixelated, two-dimensional avatars and voices can only communicate so much in terms of non-verbal cues. Plus, removing yourself from someone’s negative emotions is as simple as logging off, disconnecting from the Wi-Fi, or turning off your computer.

Sensing emotions?

Although the act of pressing a button would signal to the other person that their partner is physically present and near the lamp, the display of colours is the heart of our project. The coloured lights emitting from the LED visually embody the other person’s mood and energy in a room. At night—when we tend to reflect on our day and emotions—the colour cast becomes even more overwhelming. This was also an opportunity to take advantage of the time difference since Candide lives in Ottawa and Patricia lives in Nairobi.

Emotions take on an additional layer of complexity when we consider how we often feel the need to mask our emotions in public because the situation calls for a more socially acceptable display of emotions. Negative emotions also tend to make people uncomfortable: just think of a time when someone was sad or grieving, and you didn’t know what to do or say. We often reserve these vulnerable displays of emotion for people we are close to (or for ourselves), but this project encourages us, Patricia and Candide — two strangers a mere months ago — to share our feelings in abstract matter. By removing the barriers that language can present, and by eliminating the expectation of a response / by simplifying the expected response to a sound composition, we hope to encourage an honest exchange of emotions.


The constant presence of the partner’s mood is also a way to decenter ourselves and nurture empathy. As we spend an increasing amount of time in front of screens and engaging with digital platforms, we have to be cognizant of how the algorithms used in a lot of these interfaces tailor the content we see based on our personal tastes, interests, location, etc. using invasive technologies such as trackers, cookies, and more. Instead, The Emoting Lamp asks us to consider how someone else’s day is going, and how they’re doing.

Process Video

Link to Github Project



Circuit Diagram

cu-tk - circuit

Process Photos


akellyirl. n.d. “How to Use an RGB LED.” Instructables. Accessed December 4, 2020.
Brown, John Seeley, Rich Gold, and Mark Weiser. 2015. “Calm Technology.” Calm Tech. 2015.
Davidavičiūtė, Lina. 2014. “21 DIY Lamps & Chandeliers You Can Create From Everyday Objects.” Bored Panda (blog). 2014.
Fabrica, Akshataa Vishwanath, Giorgia Zanellato, Leonardo Amico, Federico Floriani, Reda Jouahri, and Alice Longo. 2014. “Patch of Sky – Share the Sky above You.” Patch of Sky. 2014.
Mendes, Antonio. 2012. Iniciando Com Arduino – Mood Lamp [Simulando RGB].
Penning, Nick. 2017. “Controllable Back/Mood Light With Arduino.” Instructables. May 26, 2017.
Raj Easy Crafts. 2017. How to Make Ice Cream Stick Lamp || Diy || Popsicle Stick Stick Craft || Raj Easy Craft.


Morse Messenger


Clinton Akomea-Agyin, Krishnokoli Roy Chakraborty

Project description

Morse Messenger is a small Wi-Fi connected device which enables two or more users, separated by distance, to connect by sharing light signals with each other. The device is operated by touch and helps send signals, secret messages or simply letting your loved ones know that you are thinking about them. On touching each of the buttons, a different light pattern is produced. This light pattern is visible to both the primary user and their loved ones. The secondary user can also reply using a light signal from the other end.

Morse code, as we all know is an alphabet or code in which letters are represented by combinations of long and short light or sound signals: it transmits a signal of continuous dashes in Morse. Through this project we wanted to explore a variation of the concept morse code, where users can develop their own codes over time and create a unique method of communication, which can be very special to themselves.

Code Links

Krishnokoli’s code

Clinton’s code

Experience Video


How It Works Video


Project Images

Both members of our team took the liberty to create different structural variations of the same concept. While one of our structures took inspiration from a flower bouquet and a gift box, the other was inspired from a zen aesthetic intending to generate a sense of calm on the viewer. Both pieces are meant to serve as a night lamp as well as a decorative item.

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Development Images

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Experience 1


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Experience 2

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Circuit diagram, created on Fritzing



Project Context

We initially came up with the idea for morse messenger while conceptualising on how to connect people over a distance. Often times, this is easily solved with the help of social media, phone calls, text messages, emails, etc. Our idea was to connect people in a more subtle yet thoughtful way, hence we went about ideating on what makes communications between loved ones special. Our conclusion was that people love to personalise their communication, create secret codes and messages and this is what makes their communications special.

In our project Morse messenger, we tried to achieve this subtlety and personalisation of communication by propagating communication through light. Each touch button produces a different pattern for users on both ends. The users can react to each others messages without exchanging any words and yet have fun trying to converse through lights.

We took our inspiration primarily from two projects. The first one being Friendship Lamps and the second being Let’s meet.

Friendship Lamps

Friendship lamps, which has flooded the market since its inception has revolutionised long distance communication. This wifi connected device, changes colour and helps connect you with friends and loved ones.

Lets’s meet

Let’s Meet, is an idea focused on people’s need to stay in touch and the difficulty associated with maintaining long distance relationships between family friends and lovers. This product is connected over wifi and is shaped according to designed interactions for replying the proposed meeting time: yes, no and maybe. After one sends the proposed time, the other one can reply yes by pressing front side the product down to the table; no by shaking the product toward both sides; and maybe by slightly tap the product once and leave it keeps rocking. After replying, both products actuate corresponding motion synchronously.

While this piece is currently displayed as Zen terrarium and bouquet of flowers, which can be representation of a gift, we intend to create further versions of it in the long run which could be box of chocolates or an aquarium etc. The device can also serve as a decorative piece, to liven up a small corner of the room. The aesthetics of the physical forms are designed to create a sense of calm and well being.



“Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design » Let’s Meet.” Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, (Links to an external site.).








BookHub by Greg, Mairead and Simran


Group Members 

Greg Martin, Mairead Stewart and Simran Duggal

Project Description

Book Hub is an Arduino-based system that enables people from around the world to stay connected by sending an alert when all participants are available to meet. In particular, Book Hub can help participants plan their next virtual book club meeting by allowing them to let the group know when they’ve finished that week’s reading. When a member of the book club has finished reading and would like to chat about the book, they can pick up their Book Hub box and turn it upside-down, initiating a change in the box’s LED display. Once all members have turned over their boxes and are ready to meet, an alert is triggered. In one household, the alert is sent in the form of a tea kettle turning on and beginning to boil water, in another, the alert is a pattern of blinking LEDs, and in the third household, the alert is a wall hook turning upside down to deposit a set of earbuds onto a chair. Once all the members have their books, tea, and earbuds, they’re ready to have a virtual book club.

In recent months, scientists have begun to study the effects of COVID-19 restrictions on mental health. A study by Lee et al. (2020), found increased levels of loneliness and depression in participants as compared to before the pandemic. By encouraging book club members to meet regularly, Book Hub can counter this trend in loneliness and hopefully improve the mental health of its users.


Experience Video –

How It Works

Network Diagram


Final Project Images –

Greg –


Mairead –


Simran –


Project Development Images



























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Code link –

Greg’s code –

Mairead’s code –

Simran’s code –

Fritzing Diagram

Greg –









Mairead –








Simran –


Project context

The popularity of reliable remote working and teleconferencing software has far-reaching implications, both in work and in leisure. Further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the wide-spread adoption of video-calling platforms has made it easier than ever for coworkers, families and friends to meet virtually with one another. According to Peek (2020), this new way of communicating will shape the future of work as many companies are likely to embrace fully or partially online working environments even after the lockdown restrictions are lifted. Though this is a novel approach to the workplace, remote working technologies have many advantages. For example, studies show that remote workers are more productive and have a higher happiness index compared to their in-office counterparts (Bloom et al., 2013). Working from home can even reduce employee turnover and can be instrumental in reducing distractions and noise (Peek, 2020). The workplace is not the only space where video conferencing technology can be beneficial. Shah et al. discuss the ways in which communicating with friends and family via video call can reduce loneliness, especially during a pandemic (2020). The authors describe loneliness as a public health issue, arguing that reducing loneliness is a health concern as well as a social concern (Shah et al., 2020). Thus, technologies that are designed to remotely connect groups of people are essential in fighting the mental health effects of COVID-19.

Of course, computer-mediated communication (CMC) can have drawbacks as well. One significant factor to consider when turning to video calling for social connection is the phenomenon often called ‘Zoom Fatigue’. This is the feeling of tiredness and irritation when using video calling software for too long. According to Nadler (2020), one explanation for this phenomenon may be the way the human brain is processing the visuals we see on screen. Rather than seeing a three-dimensional face, we may be interpreting the video as one two-dimensional plane with the background and foreground fused together. Facial expressions and emotions – vital to any work or social related interaction – would understandably take more brain effort to interpret and may result in increased levels of irritation and fatigue (Nadler, 2020). To combat this fatigue, many groups are attempting to blend virtual interactions with offline activities such as reading. An example of this is Book Baristas (Book Baristas, 2020), a virtual book club that encourages its members to connect with one another but also take some time off screen to read. Endeavours like this can help participants feel socially connected while also avoiding the fatigue of having extended periods of time on a video call.

references –

Bloom, N., Liang, J., Roberts, J., Zhichun, J. Y. (2013). Does Working From Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment. NBER Working Paper Series. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.

Book Baristas (2020). News. Book Baristas.

Lee, C. M., Cadigan, J. M., Rhew, I. C. (2020). Increases in Loneliness Among Young Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Association with Increases in Mental Health Problems. Adolescent Health Brief, 67(5), 714–717.

Nadler, R. (2020) Understanding “Zoom fatigue”: Theorizing spatial dynamics as third skins in computer-mediated communication. Computers and Composition, 58(1).

Peek, S. (2020). Communication Technology and Inclusion Will Shape the Future of Remote Work. Business News Daily.

Shah, S. G. S., Nogueras, D., Van Woerden, H. C., Kiparoglou, V. (2020). The COVID-19 Pandemic: A Pandemic of Lockdown Loneliness and the Role of Digital Technology. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(11).