The project that my fellow students and I have been working on in the second semester of the first year had the theme “Light to Touch”. No other directions were specified, so the first step was to find a relevant problem to work with. The problem that we wanted to solve within our project was how to make people feel more comfortable when walking alone through tunnels at nighttime. As usual, we first conducted a literature study to find confirmation on the existence of our stated problem. We then started ideating on design ideas, went on to prototyping to test these ideas, and conducting user tests to gain user insights.
Our final product is a combination of star-like lights in calming colors and patterns on the ceiling of a tunnel, and a projected animated bird on the wall that floats ahead of passers-by from the moment they walk into a tunnel until the moment they leave. We augmented the product with an alarm system inside the tunnel, to not only increase the feeling of safety but also safety itself. In the event of passers-by screaming or not following their expected path, a camera observant would be notified. When the situation requires action, the observant would press a button to make all lights in the tunnel turn on bright and send emergency services on the way.
This box I made is a prototype of the star-like lights, with the pushbutton representing the alarm system. It consists of re-used foamboard from the course Cardboard Modeling, 50 RGB LED’s, a Teensy, buttons, resistors, a powerbank and a lot of wiring and solder. Again, I wrote the code for the lights in Arduino. Building this prototype taught me how to solder 50 LED’s in a specific pattern, how to control those lights by means of a programmed system with push-buttons, and to hide the complex parts of the system inside of a clean-looking cover.