Inspired by my Interaction for Strangers project, I wanted to include all that I learned and also with what I failed while doing this project. This Helloween installation is a high fidelity prototype and try to gather the results of this interaction project. The project uses a split and spread out interface with three main buttons. Here’s how it will work:

  • One button will be placed on either side of the stone bench corner, as shown, and the other on the center of a wooden bench.
  • On pressing any one button only one part of the Halloween jack-o-lantern face glows.
  • On pressing two eyes, the nose glows, and only on pressing all three, the entire face glows.
  • With each glow, a small evil laugh is emitted and when all are pressed simultaneously, a major evil laugh is heard from inside the pumpkin.
  • Keeping Halloween, as the flavor of the season in mind, the wires, the entire apparatus may seem safe for the people and might not scare them away, as far as security is concerned. [Can be updated to a Santa-Christmas version if used in the winter break.]
  • The three buttons will be soft buttons and the entire installation will be always glowing with three electroluminescent wires.

The “perception” of safety of this is indeed an assumption and will need to test this out. However, the core part of this design is the prompt. While everyone can see the pumpkin and can familiarise themselves with it, they will also need to spot the buttons and feel safe to push the buttons. Hence, I am now in process of testing the buttons, with rubber ball-like buttons, or electronic soft buttons made from neoprene fabric.

The idea is to connect all these elements with electroluminescent wire, which will add to the attraction, and will not expose regular wires which may seem threatening to users. Once the button prototyping is done, tested and user reactions are noted down, only then I shall proceed with the final installation. The lights, sound, and synchronization are controlled by an Arduino, placed inside the pumpkin, along with the speaker.

I could not get security clearance for placing this at the Washington Square Park, because unfortunately, there was also a terror attack in NYC on October 31st, 2017. I tested using a prototype indoors, on my school floor, at PlayTech (an open forum where all games, installations were being tested), at our Design Studio floor, D12, Parsons School of Design. Below is a quick summary of the reactions.

I intended to test the Attraction, Curiosity, Invitation and Participation factors, not of the entire system taken together, but just the interface itself – the split buttons. This, in particular, was a success.

Work in Progress: Two more prototype iterations to follow – one fully functional prototype within a familiar/easy space like my school, and the other in the targeted space at the Park. This may need tailoring as per season/festival. The wave-shield and sound output circuits based on the button inputs are built as above.

Virtual Public Space Online

I created a virtual version of this project for a summation and understanding of the intended experience online, of the entire installation. You might need three people/hands to try this out and play/interact with it. This is also inspired by:

…virtual spaces available through the internet as a new type of public space that develops interaction and social mixing. – UNESCO

I am making this as an online version of the entire design statement, using Javascript, HTML, and CSS. The JS components are – jQuery, for WebSockets, Express Framework, Node.js.
This can be shared on social media and have strangers, all general online users interact with each other. They need to figure out how to animate the central object, collectively.