Making the invisible visible
I designed interactions for a media installation using a pinwheel, an induction motor and a custom-built API outside a children's library that engages children of all ages in a magical and educational experience, using their breath to create waves of light that shoot across the façade of the building.
Using an electric motor as an inductive generator, I was able to use the motor as an input for a microcontroller connected to a laptop running Processing code. This code communicated with the lightwall's API, which is what allowed it to trigger animations along the length of the installation, which was built by a local reactive space designer.
Engaging, interactive education
Engaging children in a playful exploration of physics, electricity, and wind power, local children were able to create their own pinwheel and mount it onto a motor shaft that connected to an Arduino micro controller. Using their breath to spin the pinwheels, waves of light propagated in the direction of their airflow.

My teammate and I created this instructional template for kids to make their own pinwheel that they could then use to power the lightwall. This reinforces the connection between individuals and technology, and feels empowering to the kids involved in the demonstration.

Setting up the project across the street from the library lightwall installationm which can be seen in the background. The wall was designed and installed by UltraLoRes Studios.

Taking advantage of the kids' reactions to the dynamic physical space as a learning opportunity, we crafted a brief introduction to wind energy on our pinwheel template that introduced students to the science of wind energy and inductive electricity generation, the same principle that we were taking advantage of to power this project.

This small-scale installation was a great example of the significant reaction that can come from a rather simple installation, a bit of code, and some basic IoT sensors. As this was a single-day demonstration, results form this project could were only collected that night. If it were to continue, the biggest challenge would be setting up the installation so that it could be run autonomously without a moderator instructing kids what actions they could take. In other words, we would need to make sure there were signifiers in place so children could quickly grok the idea know how to use the space for an effective lesson.
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