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Publication Detail
The LEDs Urban Carpet: A Portable Interactive Installation for the Urban Environment (Interactive Installation/Video)
  • Publication Type:
    Conference
  • Authors:
    Briones C, Fatah gen Schieck A
  • Publication date:
    09/2006
  • Place of publication:
    Milan, Italy
  • Series:
    Generative Art
  • Keywords:
    Urban space, Interactive installation, Urban computing, Body-input interface.
Abstract
Traditionally, architecture has been perceived as static floors, walls and roofs that surround us. Nowadays, physical computing and digital systems are becoming more and more ubiquitous in our architectural and urban spaces allowing us to perceive architecture as a dynamic and adaptive surface that can respond to the surrounding environment. Here we present the LEDs Urban Carpet: an interactive installation using a non-traditional user interface. The installation represents a game with a grid of lights that can be embedded as a carpet into the urban context. A pattern of lights is generated dynamically that change in real time according to pedestrians movement over the carpet. In this case the pedestrians become participants that influence the generative process and make the pattern of LEDs change with the change of the location of one or more participants. The aim is to create a novel urban experience that invites social interactions with the interface among different people as friends, observes or strangers. Here we investigate social interaction patterns and behaviour generated through the introduction of a this new kind of interface . We describe the concept, design and implementation of this interactive installation. The LEDs Urban Carpet is conceived as a grid of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which interact with the pedestrians by tracking their paths as they move over the grid. The lights turn on or off via a computer generated program, which defines the behaviour of each light at every instant. This program is written using a Boid algorithm to simulate a flock of seagulls that follow the pedestrians as they move in different directions over the carpet. The LEDs carpet was tested and evaluated in three different locations in the heritage city of Bath. Initial findings about how people move, congregate and socialize around the interactive installation are outlined and the level and type of interactions around the installation are illustrated. In addition, some social factors that can trigger social interactions or can cause embarrassment are explored. We believe that developing and evaluating the LEDs Urban Carpet is a powerful way to help understand the whole cycle of designing with the new medium. The experience we present here can assist designers in understanding difficulties and issues that need to be taken into account during the design of an urban interactive project of this nature.
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