Power Flowers

Power Flowers was a project I worked on at the MIT Media Lab with three other researchers while I was a research assistant in the Changing Places research group. It was an exploration of a "tangible user interface", that had to both be able to display a shape to convey some information and let the user modify its shape in order to control or alter that information. What we designed was a two-way interface for both monitoring home energy usage and changing it, using robotic flowers as the shape-changing display. The flowers, representative of the environment, would be a center-piece in a user's home and open up (appearing healthy) when the user's energy usage was low, then close up (appearing unhealthy) when the user's energy usage was high. Further, users could manually open and close the flowers to dim or brighten their lights, giving them a tangible feel for their impact on the environment.

Our team designed, modeled, and laser cut the flowers' stems and hinges, 3D-printed the petals, and laser cut the vase. I personally designed and laser cut the light stand, as well as programmed and hooked up the internal electronics.

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