Final project proposal - pandora elevator

The space inside elevator is interesting because it's a closed little box living in a totally dark tunnel. The door is the only connector between this box and real word. The light inside the box is the only light source of this box world. What if we add some different light effects

1) to different destinations, like drama light for drama floor, and cyber light for ITP floor;

2) in different day or time, such as cool color in hot day, or warm color at night;

3) and music, like go disco when there's no one talk but lots of riders :P

would it be more like a magic pandora box that transport people to magic places? Would it be interesting?

This idea came from these two amazingly fun videos!

Final - System design

For future indoor farming, we should not make a pot or a container, we make a connector which can combine our resources and our food.

I've already got all the materials and working on BlueTooth/Wifi/Web connection.

Week 07 - Materiality / Material Culture

I really like the idea that when you change the organization of one material, it will change the strength or character of it.


So I made some material by re-organizing bath tower, which is flushable, and try to have something both firm and easy to toss away


Week 06 - Social Design

I remember in the energy class we were talking about the air pollution in Beijing, and Despina asked about the design of the mask. Then I keep thinking about it, and feel like want to do something about it.


When the mask become their daily life, people lose their facial expressions. We can not feel the emotion of each other and can not express ourselves very well. Even we have some mask products they print image on it and feel like fun, but they are fixed patten and never change in a whole day. Then I have this idea that what if we put a screen on the mask and connect it to smart phone we addicted every moment (however I don't know how to achieve that). We change the image on the mask whenever we want to express ourselves, which will make the air pollution world less like a zombie world.

24h Light - Parallel City

This idea came from that we always can see the window light of someone in the far away building and feel their life from just that little window light, but we never see ourselves'. And also I have the wish that I can feel closer to my parent even I'm getting up in the morning in US and they are going to sleep in the evening in China. So If I can have a image that I can see their world and the light from their window, it may feel closer to them.

I tried to record a real 24 hours documentation bellow, but the video quality is so bad that we can't see any color of it.

So I made a fast forward one with a good camera (which can not do 24 hours video). It is way much better even it still lose some color effects.

Because of my bad time arrangement of this project, I made it 24 hours using delay, and the small window is lighting up and turn off by a fixed setting, which is not a smart way. 

However, what I really want to do is get the sunrise and sunset time of one country from web and calculate the time lapse of that. And the small window light is changing according to a real room, your own or some one you love in a specific country. 

I tried to use a light sensor to sense my room, but it's not accurate and sensitive as expected. the small window light will turn off anyway even I just turn off my floor lamp but have my desk lamp light. I also tried to use a camera to catch the light strength of my room and send it to Arduino, but the camera will adjust the focusing and light balance automatically, which will made the light level inaccurate, too.

There is another problem that I haven't work out is, I try to use a camera on raspberry Pi and transit the data to a web server, then make the Arduino on the lamp to get the data from the server wirelessly. Maybe I should do this one as a final project and solve all the problems.

Project schedule

03.22    define the problems of existing products (why people don't want them)

03.25    lighting/watering control test

03.28    farming data collection/ product design/ material research

04.01    prototype building

04.05  plants test and data collection

04.20  finalize design

05.01    final presentation preparation/documentation

05.03    final presentation








Midterm scene and final project storyboard

After I made the 3D model, I applied the animation on it and putted it into my scene.

Honestly I didn't spend too much time on this one, and I was focusing on figuring out a better story for our final project.

Then I drew this storyboard about "inappropriate love", that a little girl gets a plant, which is the user of VR headset, from her Mom, takes good care of it, hopes it will flower next spring. However, she loves it too much, waters it too much, keeps it too warm. The plant gradually died, and the little girl gets a new nice flower anyway. I hope people think about their ways of "love" after it.

It includes one character and several scenes of seasons and bedroom, can be experienced with water, heat, vibration, wind and smell . But I'm not sure it is too complicate or not.

Week 05 - Energy and Sustainability

What is “energy”? Create a piece that communicates your relationship to energy

The relationship between human and energy mainly composed by food. I'm thinking about translate those energy generated by our daily life to food we need everyday. Then there is an idea of home farms.

Keep a log of all your “waste” and propose alternatives to your consumption/waste patterns

I care about waste problem for a long time, so I have already been used to collect and give some wastes alternative usage situation, especially after I came to ITP, where I need a lots of different materials for prototypes. I saved all the good paper or plastic package boxes and bags to reuse them, yogurt and ice cream jars, and cosmetic bottles to use as future containers. My roommates and I also collect all the market plastic bags as a reusable trash can bags, so that we don't need to buy more and waste more.

However, there is still a huge amount of other waste, most of them are food packages, food wastes and paper towers. We three girls throw away more than 5 bags of garbages per week. I have no idea how to give these waste an alternative use, or reduce the amount ... 

Week07 - lamp for night-owl phone addict

The original idea of my lamp is playing with shadow. How ever, I failed to create a satisfied clear shadow when I was using a AC 15w led corn bulb. Maybe it's too bright... Then I had this alternative idea of a lamp for people who can't help playing his phone for a long time before sleep. At that moment, normal lamp is too bright to have a sleepy mood, and no light is too dark to protect eyes from screen. So I made this lamp.

I made this by cutting an led strip and re-soldering them as a matrix, and using 5mm fiber optic to hide the light source but create enough soft brightness in 3D dimension.

Because it has a quite bright top creating by fiber optic end, I also want to make this as a clock by changing the light up part and color. I planed to make it 12x12 which is more reasonable as a clock, but I don't have enough led and the fiber, so...

But since it changes brightness and color based on time of a day, maybe I should do the clock part for the next assignment.

Project proposal - indoor garden


One thing that makes me frustrated is, I love plants so I used to have 7, but 5 of them died in half an year. Now I just have 2, but I'm pretty sure they will die soon because I always forget to water them, and I never do fertilization, you know, life is busy...

Below are the instructions following with each plant when I buy them. They are detailed and useful, but I just don't read them, or forget them quickly after reading.

I watched lots of videos about future food this week, BBC, TED, etc. Most of them mentioned growing food in city, in office building, even in our home. But gardening is not easy, how can I grow my own food for daily needs when I can not even take good care of several plants. Of course, smart garden is the solution. Then I did some exploration.

These are the most likely things we can find to help grow plant easier. They all follow a certain type of design and only deal with limited type of plants. As you see in those instructions before, even just two small plants, they ask totally different light and water. I don't know too mach about edible plant, but I believe they are more complicate when involving flower and fruit.

So I decided to make a project about indoor garden, even lots of people already done it before. For me, I want this project be really useful, more beautiful/artistic, flexible for combining more types of plants as a whole system, and smart enough so that plants have higher survival rate with least care. I hope it is especially good for busy people who love green and nature but living with less sunshine and fresh air, and not only for food, but also for pleasure and relax.


The main technology will cover Arduino, Raspberry Pi, light design, mechanism, engineering, fabrication and even mobile application. They are all ITP learnable and good for my own skill building.

Week04&05 - Create a character and make a simple story

I want to make a story that a girl grown up in a snow world without any color and this day she meet a pink bird telling her the colorful world outside.

I learned and created a 3D model in Blender. It took me lots of time since this is my first 3D modeling...

Then I tried to upload the model to Mixamo and get some animation, but somehow it didn't let me download, and the model lost colors/materials... 

Then, I don't have time to finish my story...

Week05 - 24 hours time-lapse video

This time I recorded the video of my room ceiling, which I never pay attention to, and is not that fun. I just want to explore what makes light look like a natural sunlight, and maybe I can make a light project simulating sunlight for those rooms which don't have a good light view. 

Week03 - Connectors: box in any size 2

Last time I made box in any size with single layer acrylic. But it will fall apart if you don't use glue. I want the box module pieces can be reused, so glue is not a good solution. I looked for some connection of flat pieces like wood floor and clamp.


Then I made this 3 layers module with two types of connectors, flat and rect.

Good news is it can support some weight now, bad news is not much weight. 

what if all foods are cubes

This time, I tried to think in a different way.

This picture comes from Lernert & Sander. I just desperately love it. Cube is a magic shape for me. It always looks same no matter how you place it, and is stackable without thinking about how.

Like I said in last post, food waste is the problem I want to dig more and do something about. So what if, in an extremely impossible way, all of our foods are in a cube shape. Cube vegetable, cube meat, cube fruit, cube salt just like cube sugar. Then we can pack, transport, stock them with the least damage and space waste, and buy, cut, cook, eat them with easiest estimation and calculation of quantity. Imaging our daily life are "the maximum number of food I can eat in one meal is 2 medium cubes, I need 6 cubes one day, so I can buy 40 cubes of food for this week.", "The recipe said I need 2 small cubes of egg and 1 small cube of spinach...", etc. According to this cube world, we have less strange shape ugly food and imprecise estimation of food need, and can build cutting machine with international cube standard.

Then, how about try to make everything cube? I know someone in China and Japan already doing this, like this cube watermelon. And there is some thing can make boiled egg cube. Since we have our little garden in floor, I will try to grow vegetables in cube!

Week 02 - Module: make a box in any size

In ITP, lots of our projects need an enclosure, a box. But it's a little hard to decide the size of the box when you need more adjustment later. So, how about make a module that can help us make a box in any size, and change it easily.

The idea comes from the "enclosure" part in fabrication class last semester.

I was thinking about making a module that has less cutting part so that it has less problems on assembling.

The 'x' is the thickness of material, wood sheet, acrylic, cardboard, etc. Then people can cut many of this piece and assemble them. 


Week02 - LED Candle

I call this candle painting because I made a candle in a painting frame and it casts reflection on a white canvas/paper.

I made the frame with wood pieces, applied a normal paper to the surface, and placed the round NeoPixel on the bottom of the frame horizontally.

Arduino Code:

#include <Adafruit_NeoPixel.h>

const int neoPixelPin = 5;  // control pin
const int numPixels = 7;    // number of pixels

// set up strip:
Adafruit_NeoPixel strip = Adafruit_NeoPixel(numPixels, neoPixelPin, NEO_GRBW + NEO_KHZ800);

void setup() {
  strip.begin();        // initialize pixel strip
  strip.clear();        // turn all LEDs off;         // update strip

void loop() {
  for (int pixel = 0; pixel<numPixels; pixel++){
    if( pixel == 0)strip.setPixelColor(0,random(200,255),0,0,random(0,20));
    else {
      if( pixel == 1)strip.setPixelColor(1,0,0,random(50,150),random(0,20));
      else strip.setPixelColor(pixel, 255,80,0,random(0,255));
  };   // update the strip

Some rough ideas about food problems

After I did some readings, I realized most of the projects are focusing on growing food, more food, growing it somewhere else, in shorter period or without human hardworking. We think we need more food when we are throwing half of them away. I remember once I went to a dessert shop beside Bryant Park with my friend at 8pm and wanted to buy a cake. Then the woman in the shop just told us they are closed and threw a brand new cake just in front of us! It made me shock. There are some reasons causing food wast I think:1) Imprecise estimation of food need, both from grocery and ourselves. 2)Uncertainty of the time food goes bad/rotten. 3)Imperfect appearance or taste. 

So, how about we do something to prevent food from rotting? I did some research and found out that honey is the only food that does not spoil while in an edible state. For me, honey equals to sugar. According to this, can we make sweet food combine with honey so that they can stay fresh for a significantly longer time?

Then if we can not, how about we do something to tell people more precisely about when the food will be bad enough to eat so that people can organize their purchase more reasonable?

In the worst situation that we can not do either, can we make something that can transform the bad food to something we need everyday, such as paper or air filter, so that we can save something else?

There’s another problem I noticed about food is people’s disorder of eating. Everyone want to be thinner and healthier by control their digest of food, however most of them just can not fighting with the desire of eating. So can we do something on the food to generate the signal of satisfy in our brain?