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.




KARIBU KENYA by Patricia Mwenda

Project Description

Karibu Kenya which is Swahili for Welcome to Kenya is an interactive installation that showcases some of the handmade products made in Kenya and also tells the story of some of our culture. During this period of social distancing and staying at home I thought it would be an interesting idea to share a little bit about my home country through this installation.

Light is one thing that we use on a daily basis and in my installation I incorporated different colour LEDs to represent different environments. Red is for the people, green for the environment and blue for the water bodies. The light speed of the LEDs change depending on the time of day using a light sensor, during the day its fast and at night its slow and brings out the installation more prominently. Artificial light may also be used to make it more interactive for the viewer to use. One of the centre pieces spins round in intervals using one servo motor to add to the interactivity of the installation.

Experience Video

This video shows the difference in light speed between daylight and evening. 

How It Works Video

This video shows behind the scenes and the electronics connection.

Final Project Images 

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Development Images

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Arduino Code Hosted on Github  

Circuit Diagram



Project Context

The idea of yuh got tuh go there tuh know there (Hurston, 1937), holds very true one can never really know a place until they have experienced it. Karibu Kenya is a small experience of the vastness of my home country. The idea is to collapse space and bring the experience to life through our screens. The Kenyan flag (Swahili: Bendera ya Kenya)  has four colours, black represents the people of the Republic of Kenya, red for the blood shed during the fight for independence, green for the country’s landscape and natural wealth and  the white symbolizes peace and honesty. The shield at the centre symbolizes defence.

In my installation I used the Kenyan flag as the basis of my design and development idea by using the colours of the flag to each represent a section. I divided the installation into 3 distinct sections land has a green base, ocean has a blue base and culture has a red base. Then from there I built upon the idea further by incorporating handmade products, on the base of the installation I placed handmade beaded necklaces which are commonly made by the Maasai tribe. The animals and small plates are made out of soapstone that is mostly made by the Kisii tribe, the centre piece is made out of the calabash plant and commonly made by the Kamba tribe. Lastly there is the woodwork sculptures of the Maasai people. Kenya has a rich handmade culture ranging from all sorts of materials and my installation highlighted just a few of thing I had lying around in the house.

For this project I started off working backwards by first coming up with the design of the installation then later incorporated the hardware aspect of it. Light helps us see the world and also informs certain actions like when using a traffic light or a glow in the dark light, they all have their own functions. Karibu Kenya is a separation of day and night  as we tend to view the world differently depending on the time of day. As the day comes to an end most people tend towards unwinding for the day and that informed my decision to slow down the pulse rate of the LEDs.

I drew my inspiration for this project from the world-premiere of the new Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit from the creators of the blockbuster show at Atelier des Lumières in Paris. The idea was to create an immersive experience on a smaller scale. Some of the challenges I faced was figuring out how to simultaneously have the servo and LEDs working but after several try and errors I finally managed although it wasn’t quite what I had in mind as the final outcome. As a further exploration it would be interesting to incorporate more interactivity to the installation like touch or motion sensor that causes the products to move in some way.


Hurston, Z. N. (1937). Their Eyes Were Watching God. In Z. N. Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (p. 192). New York: J.B. Lippincott.

Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit. (n.d.). Retrieved Oct 2020, from

Wikipedia. (2020, August 23). Wikipedia. Retrieved from Kenyan Flag:,1963%20after%20Kenya’s%20independence.

Waterbomb organism by Krishnokoli

About the project


Waterbomb organism is a physical computing installation that responds to light and shadow in its surroundings. It is inspired by the waterbomb tessellating origami designed by Eric Gjerde, the renowned paper artist.

While working on Experiment 1, I learnt about using the body as a controller for generating response from a series of digital artworks (using p5Js web editor). The artworks comprised of a series of 5 tessellating patterns, which responded to the viewer’s movements. Since the tessellations were all made digitally, they were inherently 2 dimensional. In experiment two, since we had the opportunity to explore both physical space and hardware, I wanted to explore 3 dimensional tessellations, in other words, origami tessellations.

Like 2 dimensional tessellations, origami tessellates, are equally stable as well as dynamic. It bends, creases, moves, shape shifts, yet holds its structural integrity perfectly. A lot of the origami tessellation’s character depends on the material used to make it. In this case, I have used 80 GSM paper, since it is non-conductive and would not interfere with the rest of my circuit. Also, paper is relatively cheap, easier to fold and readily available at most locations around the globe. 80 GSM paper also allows a certain level of translucency which allowed me to eventually place LEDs underneath it to create a ‘lampshade’ effect.

The ‘Waterbomb Organism’ is supposed to bring about an emotive connection, between the viewer and the piece, like an owner and their pet. Only when the viewer is present in-front of the sensor, does the installation react. The lights blink faster and the organism subtly moves as if in excitement. Movements have always been considered as an indicator of life. A responsive movement generated by this artwork is supposed to be interpreted as anthropomorphism through design (without a specific narrative context).

Experience Video

The installation can be fixed both inside and outside of a house. It can serve as a visual doorbell or a small companion. It reacts based on what the sensor reads, hence the positioning of the sensor is very important. As of now, I have kept the sensor quite long, so that it can have distance of roughly 1 meter from the installation. But it may vary from place to place. Here’s a demo of how the installation works both indoors and outdoors.

How it works

  1. The water bomb tessellation has mountains and valleys inside the finished structure. The mountains are the areas of the paper which pop out towards the viewer and the valleys are the areas which converge away from the viewer. The valley folds of waterbomb origami helps it collapse and open, making the structure tensile.
  2. The motor is attached right underneath the origami in the centre, while the four corners of the paper are stuck to the base. This allows the motor to rotate 180 degrees and initiate subtle motions in the origami too. The motor only rotates when the photo-resistor reads light below 500.
  3. 14 LEDs are connected whimsically underneath the origami structure. They are attached to the base of the origami through wires originating from the breadboard. With the help of Arduino they are programmed to blink faster whenever the sensor senses any shadow. Which is light below 500.
  4. The photo-sensor is connected to the Arduino Nano which is placed in the box right below the installation. The motor, LEDs are also connected to the Arduino nano 33 IOT through a breadboard inside the box.
  5. The photo-sensor does not have an exact location it can be placed anywhere with the help of wires depending on the nature of the location.

Here is the process video of how I made it.

Project Images

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img_5720jpg.      img_5728

Development Images

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Link to code

Circuit Diagram


Project Context

This project was primarily inspired by the dynamic environment project by Mostafa Alani. I came across several of his projects in the Arduino Project Hub. While most of his works centre around tessellations and interactivity I thought it would be a good learning opportunity for me to learn and find reference from his works.

The other inspiration behind this project was Cupra’s Kinetic Wall. It was designed and developed by Leva, TODO and Blackboard Berlin for the Cupra stand at 88° Geneva International Motor Show in February 2018.

I have decided to take inspiration from tessellations and digital fabrication for this experiment because 3D tessellations opens up a whole new way to introducing movement in a controlled yet mind-bending way. Although a lot of the movement were not achievable as planned, it provided a great learning opportunity to understand how different materials, shapes and creases interact with movement with the help of motors


Arduino Project Hub. “Dynamic Environment.” Accessed October 24, 2020.

Kinetic Wall – Making of & Backstage, 2018.


Smart Lights by Clinton Akomea-Agyin

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Smart Lights is a physical computing project that observes the relationship between the weather and light. 3 different LEDs have been setup near the window, and only one turns on depending on the intensity of the light from outside.  On a very sunny day, the red light will turn on, on a slightly overcast day, the yellow light and when its night time, the blue light. The on/off state of the LED’s are controlled by how much light the photo cell resistor is able to receieve.

Color and lighting for that matter is said to hav the power to evoke different moods and feelings in human beings. Red is said to provoke feelings of excitement and anger in some cases. Yellow is said to increase frustration. While Blue evokes a feeling of calm. This helped influence my choice of the red, yellow and blue LED lighting choices to represent the weather at different times of the day.


#1 Blinking LED’s

The first video shows the 3 different LEDs blinking. The red represents the brightest point of the day, the yellow when it is getting darker and the blue is when outside is completely dark. The blink intensity varies depending on how bright or dark the outside light is.

#2 Fading LED’s

The second video shows the 3 different LED’s fading depending on the light intensity outside.

#3 On-Off LED’s

The third video shows the 3 different LED’s turning on/off depending on the light intensity outside.




1- Testing and building the circuit

2- Structure Layout


3-First LED Blink






For this experiment I was inspired in general by the concept of smart lights. In particular its ability to adapt its light responding to changes in its environment.

Lighting has evolved over the years, from the days of lanterns, to incandescent lamps and finally LED lamps. As these new forms of lighting have been discovered, this has allowed us to have more power for longer as well as decrease energy consumption. Recently, there has been a slow but steady push towards more alternative and cost-effective forms of lighting. Smart lights are the latest invention, and are constantly being adapted to do more than just “switch the outdoor lights off and on.” Today, the smart light acts as a network of interconnected devices which allow people to control multiple areas of their home. Otherwise known as the Internet of things(ioT).

However, for the purpose of my experiment, I decided to focus on the “traditional smart light,” the one whose main function was to “switch the outside lights off and on,”based on changes in the environment. I explored how smart photocell streetlights worked and applied this concept to my experiment on how to bring the outside inside. For the street light, its focus is capturing the outside data, such as light to produce light that powers the outside. However, I decided to explore how that outside data can be used to benefit us inside our homes as well and how that can inform certain decisions we may have to take. For example, when a person wants to decide what to wear outside, based on the weather, he/she can simply look at the LED light color to determine how hot it is based on the amount of light read by the photoresistor. This can help influence their decision on choice of clothes to wear.

Works Cited

“How Do the Streetlights Turn on Automatically at Night?” HowStuffWorks, Apr. 2000,

“Introduction to Smart Lighting: A Very Brief History of Light.” Smartenlight, 14 Nov. 2017, Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

“Smart Street Lighting – Making the Switch.” Lucy Zodion, 10 May 2019,

TOUCH ME NOT by Abhishek Nishu and Simran Duggal

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Simran Duggal, Abhishek Nishu


Touch Me Not is an installation inspired from the plant “Touch me not” also known as the Shameplant from nature. Everytime we would go on a trek surrounded by nature’s beauty and might, we would still keep a look out for this small plant. It was nature’s way of reciprocating to our actions and we were very fascinated by this. If you haven’t come across one, it’s a small green leaf that withdraws itself on being touched. The installation looks to replicate this concept with withdrawing lights based on the proximity from an LDR sensor. But instead we have chosen to represent them as Lily’s and a miniature garden . Flowers are nature’s way of getting indoor. The structure is a combination of origami flowers complemented by other props including real flowers to extend a natural look to the installation along with an object adding movement by using the servo motor. The installation uses light levels to navigate movement around it. With a person or object in close proximity, it reduces or blocks the amount of light received by the sensor, hence being able to track movement around it. We have also built a correlation between the light sensor level and the voltage. Through this as the sensor amount goes down, it lowers the voltage, bringing down the brightness of the LED’s. In the absence of people just like a plant, the flower goes on to live its life by staying lit in the presence of light and goes to sleep in its absence. We further wish to explore this project by incorporating better mechanisms that would control the petals of the flower to open and close in relation to the LED’s.


The first prototype is done using sensors with LED’s exploring the proximity fading in flowers.

The second prototype is a development of the first one by adding servo motor in an element while exploring proximity fading in flowers.

FInal project images–

1 – img_9621

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2 –img_3248 img_3250   img_3251



1- Rough development of idea through sketchesimg_9662

2- Testing & building circuit

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3- Began Structure development

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4 –First flower sensor

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Have you ever wondered why the outdoors are so intriguing. It’s because of its dynamic nature. The outdoors is a combination of many patterns taking place on a day to day basis. Birds fly away from their nests only to come back to them at night, plants stand tall in the presence of light and preserve their energy at night only to perform the same action the following day and the sun rising and setting with each day. What makes these patterns beautiful together, is its synergy with each other. A plant wouldn’t stand tall during the day if the sun didn’t come out. It’s these interactions with each other that make patterns exist. 

We began this project from a very technical perspective. But as we slowly got introduced to more pieces of hardware, it began to present itself as a canvas open to building digital patterns based on the interaction between two or more products. This led us to see that there was one common characteristic to both the indoors and the outdoors. And that was energy. With nature being driven by its natural sources of light and energy, we invented a different form of energy that served our needs, Electricity. While we looked at multiple artists and their representation of bringing the outdoors indoor. Bruce Munro installation “Field of light” in the Uluru desert in Australia, not only portrayed visual satisfaction but also showed us a way how our different forms of energy can complement each other environments(Bruce Munro,2016). By replicating man-made energy in biophilic patterns he crafted a new dimension to the Uluru desert. Deserts were generally meant to sleep at night. But through his work he has inspired many to recreate the Field of light and give a new perspective to something we once upon a time just saw as sand.

Similarly we looked to create an outdoor experience, indoor. The concept of Biophilic design is widely used in the building industry. It is the use of patterns of nature in indoor spaces to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment through the use of direct nature, indirect nature, and space and place conditions(Biophilic Design). Through our installations we look to patterns of nature and with the help of technology, make them more interactive with people in that space. Biophilic design can also reduce stress, improve cognitive function and creativity, improve our well-being and expedite healing; as the world population continues to urbanize, these qualities are ever more important(Terrapin). The purpose of Biophilic Design also helps explain why crackling fires and crashing waves captivate us; why a garden view can enhance our creativity; why shadows and heights instill fascination and fear; and why animal companionship and strolling through a park have restorative, healing effects. We draw inspiration from Biophilic design in bringing in nature into our spaces. 


Also inspired by “Hooray” by Hye Yeon Nam we were able to create our idea based on using shadows as a proximity alert. This helps bring an interactive element to our biophilic pattern. We hope that with the world urbanizing itself and moving forward, biophilic patterns take its place strongly in our future. 


Bruce Munro:,2016

Arduino Sunflower:

Hooray by Hye Yeon Nam:

Biophilic Design:,and%20space%20and%20place%20conditions.




SMOG – Achal Shah


Light is the material of vision. As a painter I want to know how I see. Not just the structure of our eye, not just the structure of light, but also the structure of how we perceive this small sliver of the electromagnetic spectrum by Matthew schreiber.

SMOG is a data driven laser based prototype for a large scale installation piece. The data that is collected is of the photoresistor which directly affects the motion of the servo motor. To the motor I have attached a laser diode, which is powered externally through a 9v battery. At certain angles there are mirror pieces placed to bounce off the laser angularly. The diode is positioned in a way that when it rotates to the motion of the servo its own rays will hit the mirror and then bounce off to form a pre-decided shape. When the resistor is receiving no external light the diode will be at rest but the moment the sensor receives a light from any source above a certain limit the diode gets set into motion. The laser beam which the idea is based upon cannot be seen without any external interference, for which I created the atmosphere of a smog (through an incense stick).

The piece takes a lot of my attention because of it’s color which was selected intentionally  and also because of the smoke which makes the laser appear and disappear at random intervals which in itself feels like a motion. Matthew schreiber said  its not just the structure of our eye, not just the structure of light, but also the structure of how we perceive this.

This turned out to be a really hectic prototype where I had to burn a lot of incense stick to generate smoke to recreate that hazy atmosphere which within the closed space felt quite suffocating, hence SMOG.

Final output


Development stage



  1. Initially the plan was to work along with three motors and three lasers but controlling the laser turned out to be difficult. After learning through experimentation that a 9v battery can fry the laser if connected solo I tried connecting three lasers but they too would lose their power very soon. I had to act fast enough to set the laser, get its reflection correct, fill the room with smog within that time and voila! the result.

I had fixed the armature before checking how much weight can a motor take and the plan initially was to work with more lasers and three motors for which I experimented with two prototypes but ended up working with one laser, motor and the middle box.

2. I had to spend a lot of time figuring out why was the servo not working and discussing the issue with Nick I learnt how some breadboards are not connected as a whole. It was then I connected the wires from the servo directly to the microprocessor’s ground,Vusb pin and at the pin value, which solved the issue.

Code link
Project context

SMOG refers to the actual smog we are surrounded by in our closed spaces. In India, many major cities are submerged in the pollution leaving it’s population exposed to direct respiratory diseases . The country’s capital city Delhi tops that list. A country with a huge population, majorly living in enclosed spaces and with some little strictness about the pollutant components generating and spreading around, poses a mental and physical threat and yet no attention is directed towards it. One of the major festival of the country, Diwali also comes with a drawback that when the whole country burst’s crackers for 10 continuous days, pollution rises exponentially and at that time there seems no escape from it. I had the very same feeling when I was working on this project. I had to close myself in a space just to make sure the smoke stays in that room. Though that was not the planning but felt a little claustrophobic. Just some perks for working with smog(pun intended).

Light is one the most important stimuli for influencing human perception, and it can have a direct effect on the psychological well-being of individuals. Correctly used, a space’s light can be used to communicate specific moods and trigger emotional responses[4]. SMOG in a way is similar to an environment which we experience inside a club. They have this lasers which we cannot see without any atmospheric haze which they bombard the club with but that helps set the mood. This is where the whole practical side of the concept was inspired from. Learning about the process I had to figure a concept relatable to me. Figuring out the reason for smog, the next step was to understand if the objects within the subject mean anything particular. Some did and some did not but while trying to figure them it added a another level of abstractness to the piece. I am interested in working with lights. Lights have been around us everywhere and they have enhanced both the silence and the sounds in a situation. The presence of lights into our 3d world makes the space more interesting. It shows us the depth in our surroundings, quite excitingly. I have seen various art studios and different artists working with lasers and also with lights. Matthew Schreiber experiments along with similar material and with the components he uses he makes us forget what space are we really in. I have never been in a laser immersive environment but I wish to recreate the space we live in using that material in a more controlled manner than I did for now with a better scenario to represent. Hopefully!


1. Dimitras, D. (2018, October 24). Interview With Matthew Schreiber. Retrieved from

2. Regan, H. (2020, February 25). 21 of the world’s 30 cities with the worst air pollution are in India. Retrieved from

3. Check, R. (2018, November 8). Delhi pollution: Are Diwali fireworks to blame? Retrieved from

4. A Flash of Emotion: Investigating the Psychological Effects of Club Lighting. (n.d.). Retrieved from


Kristjan Buckingham


Project Description

Most of us are spending more time than ever at home, often in a make-shift office, shared space, or a tucked away window-less corner. LightCube is a reminder to go out and enjoy the sun while its at its brightest. The LightCube is a functional desk ornament that provides gentle ambiance of ebbing warm light for most of the day. It uses a photocell attached to a window frame to detect how bright it is. When the sun is bright enough, it triggers an alert with flashing red and blue LEDs highlighting a prompt to “Go enjoy the sun!” It then returns to ambient mode until the sun goes down. At night, when low enough light levels are detected, white LEDs light up from inside the LightCube, creating a lantern effect which can function as a desk lamp or a night light. It can be hard to remember to take a break and enjoy the day while endlessly working at a computer (especially without a window nearby!), so LightCube can help bring a little sunshine back into your day. And if you’re still working when the lantern comes on, it’s probably time to call it a day! It’s important to be mindful of mental health when working from home, and this is just one small way to keep things in check throughout the day.

Experience Video


How It Works Video

Final Project Images

Ambiance Mode:


“Go Enjoy the Sun!” Alert:


Lantern Mode:




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Arduino Code

GitHub Gist Link:

Fritzing Circuit Diagram


Project Context

The interactive installation “Curiosity Cloud” by mischer’traxler features a series of lanterns that come to life when the observer gets close to them (Hobson). This installation was the inspiration to use the format of an interactive lantern, but rather than using data from the user to manipulate the environment, LightCube uses data from the environment to influence the user. Where “Curiosity Cloud” detected heat coming from the observer to trigger a light and a motor connected to a model of an insect, LightCube uses a photocell to detect the level of brightness from the sun to trigger different lighting effects that prompt the user to go outside or stop working.

Being cooped up inside and working from home can be draining, and it can be beneficial to break up the monotony by spending more time outdoors (Pinola). This is just one of many strategies people are using to cope with the strain working from home can have on mental health. Various technologies such as the AppleWatch, meditative apps, and mindfulness-related podcasts are increasing in popularity as users become more conscious of the importance of mental health (Tartakovsky). As these products begin to saturate the market, there is a need to break away from the conventional approaches and provide users with more varied options that could work for them (Poindexter). LightCube is refreshingly not connected to any device or app, but instead uses data from the outside world to gently remind the user to take a break and enjoy the outdoors.

The prompt to “Go enjoy the sun!” is somewhat along the same lines as the prompts to “Breathe” and “Stand” on the AppleWatch, but the haptic alerts can be quite jarring, ironically causing the opposite of the intended reaction. Although LightCube still calls attention to itself, there are no sound effects or vibrations, so the alert isn’t as alarming, and the lantern turning on at night is a calm and functional way to remind the user to wind down.


Hobson, Benedict. “Mischer’Traxler’s Interactive Curiosity Cloud Installation is ‘Like Being in a Dream’.” Dezeen, 28 September 2015, (Links to an external site.). Accessed 22 October 2020.

Pinola, Melanie. “How to Move Your Home Office Outside—And Make the Most of It.” New York Times, 11 May 2020, Accessed 22 October 2020.

Poindexter, Cristina. “Mindful Technology is on the Rise, But It’s Time to Think Beyond Meditation.” Medium, 3 August 2018, Accessed 22 October 2020.

Tartakovsky, Margarita. “Using Technology to Help Us Pracice Mindfulness.” PsychCentral, 8 July 2018, Accessed 22 October 2020.

Sunlight measurer – Jamie Yuan

  • Project name: Sunlight measurer
  • Key project image 


  • Project description

In this project I uses Light Dependent Resistor (LDR) and some LEDs as well as some resistance to create a sunlight measurer. The project can show 3 modes of sunlight – sunlight in sunny days, in cloudy days or in evenings (little light). And these 3 modes can be shown in 3 LEDs with different color, with a paper board.

When the Light Dependent Resistor (LDR) is exposed in sunlight of a sunny day, the red light is on; When the Light Dependent Resistor (LDR) is exposed in sunlight of a cloudy day, the green light is on; When the Light Dependent Resistor (LDR) is exposed in evenings, the purple light is on.

  • Experience Video

  • How It Works Video

  • 2-5 final project images

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Three modes of the measurer.

  • 2-5 development images/videos

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This 2 pictures shows the coding process and the original circuit of the project.

  • Link to the Arduino code hosted on Github

  • Circuit diagram, created in Fritzing or Tinkercad


*because I can’t find the Arduino Nano 33 iot model in Thinkercad so I used Arduino Uno.

  • Project Context 

The sunlight measurer is inspired by an Interactive Light Installation called “Greeting to the Sun”. This is an installation simply uses sunlight and transfer it into light effects. The circular floor installation consists of three hundred multilayered glass plates encasing solar cells that absorb sunlight during the day and come alive at night, putting on a spectacular light show. Apart from this, the installation is an interactive experience which can respond to a sound installation called Sea Organs. So I began to think about visualizing the change of the brightness and transfer it into several effects of LEDs.

I want to make this project a little bit functional. The concept of the light measurer is really functional and can be widely used in our daily life.

The mechanism of the sunlight measurer is quite simple: the data of the Light Dependent Resistor (LDR) is between 0-1023,and it can stands for the brightness of the light. I want to measure the brightness of the sunlight so I divided the 1023 into 3 parts using if/else/else if function, and used 3 LED of different colors to stand for these 3 modes.

As for how this project works, when the Light Dependent Resistor (LDR) is exposed in sunlight with different brightness, the LEDs will show different colors.



Greeting the sun – Interactive Sunlight Installation“,

Learning Electronics with Arduino“, Jody Culkin and Eric Hagan,

CandyDrop – The Arduino Candy Dispenser by Candide Uyanze

Project description

CandyDrop is a Halloween candy dispenser designed for our socially distanced world! As trick-or-treaters approach the doorway and extend their bags under the CandyDrop, an LED inside the home is switched on, triggered by a light sensor underneath the CandyDrop.

The person in the home can then place their hand over the second light sensor, inside the home, which triggers the dispensing mechanism, controlled by a servo, to drop the candy into the trick-or-treater’s bag.

Process + Experience Video

How it Works / Development / Context

As the cliché goes, we are facing unprecedented times because, of course, of the pandemic. Though I didn’t really celebrate Halloween as a kid (in terms of trick-or-treating and giving candy), I know that the festivities are important to a lot of people, both young and old, here in Canada.

Alas, here in Ottawa, our medical officer of health, Dr. Vera Etches, has cancelled trick-or-treating for this year (Chen 2020). In the spirit, though, I’ve decided to conceptualize a way to distribute candy while maintaining social distancing. This was also the only thing I could think of that would fit the theme of inside/outside (besides the obvious examples shown in the lectures).

I began by researching candy dispensers (using both Arduino or just through manual action) to see if the idea had been implemented before, and how:

  • Automatic Halloween Candy Dispenser – Engineering Process (Barkers Random Projects 2019): Uses a conveyor belt and the trick-or-treaters had to press a button–not very COVID-friendly. In one of their sketches shown at the beginning of the video, however, there’s a mechanism where a quantity is made ready in a mini bowl, and as it rotates, it stops the flow. Since the servo motor is pretty slow, and I don’t have access to a soldering iron, I decided to implement that idea in my experiment.
  • How to make Automatic Candy Machine with Arduino (Dawar 2018): Uses a proximity sensor, and the candy chute opens in a lateral motion. My worry with this tehnique was that too much candy would fall off.
  • Arduino powered candy dispenser / Arduino Süßigkeitenautomat (simonlevy 2017): Uses a lateral motion and a button. This model seemed to work best with small, round, unwrapped candy. I know that unwrapped candy is a big no-no for trick-or-treating, so I passed on this one.
  • How to make a Chocolate Dispenser Machine using Arduino Nano, Servo motor & IR Sensor (Robokart 2019): This example provided an interesting way of controlling the flow of the candy. However, I wanted to avoid building out a complex contraption with cardboard.
  • How to Make Candy Dispenser with 3 Different Taste at Home (Mini Gear 2017): Use an interesting system where the candy drop is triggered by pushing down on a lever that springs back using an elastic. I also liked that they used plastic bottles to hold the candy.
  • Desktop Candy Dispenser (pneumatic addict 2018): This model required laser cutting, but, I really liked that they made use of the mini-cup idea that was mentioned in the first video.
  • How to Build Candy Dispenser (Crazy Mr.Hacker 2017): Use a button and eleastics to drop the candy, but buildig the model uses materials that I don’t have access to.
  • How to Make Candy Dispenser from Cardboard Easy DIY (Pinc Share 2017): Used a cool maze layout to control the flow, but I was trying to stay away from more complex cardboard builds.

Though they weren’t exactly candy dispensers, I was also inspired by these projects:

  • Remote Control Pet Feeder (Mathew 2018): This was a similar idea that was implemented in a very simple manner. It uses a lateral movement to control the flow. This project also gave me the idea of using a plastic bottle as the container.
  • Dropping Spider on Doorbell – Halloween Scare Prank (Blåsol 2018): This Halloween themed project inspired my to add fake spider and spider webs to my project, as well as having the candy drop from the bottom.

Once I decided on the mechanism, I purchased some materials: Halloween decor, plastic bottle, cardstock, stickers, and, of course, candy.

CU - Sketch
A quick, very rough sketch of the system

I began by building the receiving tube and mini cup that would drop the candy. Next, I attached one of the servo horns to the cup. I then built the sensor system that was connected to the servo with the help of TechMartian’s “Light-Controlled Servo” Instructable.

Afterwards, I added the LED system, tested the entire mechanism, and added some finishing touches with decorations.

Unfortunately, when I was testing the CandyDrop outside for my final set of documentations, the Arduino dropped. Ever since, the servo motor has been glitching and hasn’t been able to drop any candy. Despite troubleshooting the issue over the next few days, I was unable to get the CandyDrop to work again. It’s unfortunate, but at least I got to enjoy the process (and the candy!):

Arduino code hosted on Github

The code can be viewed here:

Circuit diagram


Works Cited

Barkers Random Projects. 2019. Automatic Halloween Candy Dispenser – Engineering Process.
Blåsol, Kristian. 2018. ‘Dropping Spider on Doorbell – Halloween Scare Prank’. Arduino Project Hub. 28 October 2018.
Chen, Jennifer. 2020. ‘How to Keep Halloween Happy, Even in a Pandemic | CBC News’. CBC, 17 October 2020.
Crazy Mr.Hacker. 2017. How to Build Candy Dispenser.
Dawar, Sahil. 2018. How to Make Automatic Candy Machine with Arduino.
Mathew, Amal. 2018. ‘Remote Controlled Pet Feeder’. Arduino Project Hub. 13 June 2018.
Mini Gear. 2017. How to Make Candy Dispenser with 3 Different Taste at Home.
Pinc Share. 2017. How to Make Candy Dispenser from Cardboard Easy DIY.
pneumatic addict. 2018. ‘Desktop Candy Dispenser’. Buildsomething.Com. 25 October 2018.
Robokart. 2019. How to Make a Chocolate Dispenser Machine Using Arduino Nano, Servo Motor & IR Sensor.
simonlevy. 2017. Arduino Powered Candy Dispenser / Arduino Süßigkeitenautomat.
TechMartian. n.d. ‘Light-Controlled Servo’. Instructables. Accessed 23 October 2020.



Greg Martin
Creation & Computation – Fall 2020
OCAD University
October 22, 2020


Arduino Gist  // Tinkercad Circuit Diagram
User Experience // How it Works

Wind-oh is a wind sensor comprising an indoor display panel and two outdoor components: a mounted light sensor and a windmill. By measuring differences in the amount of light hitting the sensor on each program loop of the Arduino controller, Wind-oh computes wind speed and provides this data to the user indoors by displaying various patterns on a three-by-three LED array.

The outdoor components can be separated as far as necessary from the main board. They are held a fixed distance apart by a precision-lathed wooden dowel, and definitely not a barbecue skewer.

The windmill, which contains no electronics, is driven by wind in the outdoor environment. Its blades, constructed of matte black paper to reduce reflection, temporarily interrupt the course of light mounted on the sensor tower, which checks the instantaneous light level against a rolling array of the ten most recent readings. Rather than taking an initial, fixed light reading, Wind-oh allows the average to fluctuate to provide a better user experience even in changing lighting conditions.

A close-up of the interface guide panel showing the three modes of operation.

The indoor panel displays wind speed information in three different states using a 3×3 grid of coloured LEDs. When no wind is detected for several seconds, LEDs light one by one to signal to the user that the device is actively monitoring external conditions. When wind is detected by the sensor component, the panel lights up in three rows (yellow, orange, and red) corresponding to speed. Sustained high winds are measured by the passing of several blades within a short period – in this case, Wind-oh blinks all of its LEDs continuously to alert the user to potential danger outdoors.



This project was borne out of a desire to push the boundaries of a light sensor’s capabilities. As an apartment-dweller, the need to monitor outdoor conditions on a balcony or terrace is familiar, and occasionally a source of worry while on vacation or away from home. It felt natural to me that a project comprising an indoor and outdoor component should in some way assuage those fears. In effect, Wind-oh acts as a primitive weather station.

I wanted to explore the concept of affordances in this project, specifically its usefulness as a framework for evaluating what features to prioritize at the expense of others. Affordances, in the user experience context, refer to the visual cues or perceived property for the function of an object (Farino). In the way that text or icons reduce the distance a user must ‘travel’ to understand a button’s function, the Wind-oh’s LED interface was designed to require very little or no training to parse. Affordances also imply tradeoffs; every decision to provide an affordance necessarily supersedes another (Amant 138). I noted that, unlike metrics such as driving speed or external temperature, wind speed is not a measurement which people will generally be able to identify numerically at lower levels. Most people can, for instance, read a weather forecast and anticipate the difference between 10C and 20C, but is the difference between a 2m/s wind and 5m/s wind widely understood? Accordingly, the major affordance I pursued was to provide a higher level of abstraction than wind speed alone. Similarly to the subtle gradations to the way people perceive wind outdoors, Wind-oh was designed to provide glanceable information and yet still be eye-catching when warning of danger.

As a reference project, the Apple Watch app for the Weather Network’s forecasting service is an excellent example of a well-structured design that prioritizes ease of use over needless meteorological detail. Fantasy, the studio behind the app’s design, make clear in their methodology that weather information should be provided at a glance (Martin).

Future iterations of this project would include a more robust sensor system, incorporating multiple sensors whose values could be checked against each other to reduce false positives, and a more easily distinguishable set of LED colours, to improve readability at greater distances.


Mounting the light meter at the optimal height for blade detection required dozens of trials. Inside, several pencil erasers provide a flexible mount for the sensor.

Thanks to Canadian Tire for wood glue, duct tape, and matte black (excuse me, obsidian) paint swatches.

The first few windmill rotor prototypes, or as I call them, ‘Denial, Grief, and Acceptance’.


Amant, Robert St. “Planning and User Interface Affordances.” Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces – IUI 99, 1999, doi:10.1145/291080.291103.

Farino, Paul. “UX Affordances.” Medium, Medium, 17 July 2013,

Martin, David, F A N T A S Y. “Designing for the World’s Most Popular Weather App.” Medium, Medium, 13 Sept. 2016,

Design, Fantasy. “Weather Network.” F A N T A S Y – Weather,