Inno Bubbles Interactive Environment

April 2016

pROJECT: 7-floor interactive installation @ PolyU School of Design

THEME: imperceptible awareness

ROLE: interaction design, 'bubble' design and construction

TEAM: 15 graphic, industrial and interaction designers led by Michael Fox, Principal @ FOXLIN ARCHITECTS

TOOLS: charrette, illustrator, laser cutting, hardware and mechanics for physical installation


Video and Photo Credit: Designer and Photographer YAO

The purpose of this project was to create an interactive space for collaboration among students and staff at the Jockey Club Innovation Tower designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. The new Innovation Tower for the School of Design at PolyU had many strengths, however, it lacked a common space for students to gather that was possible with the old building. 

Our class first proposed different ideas in small groups of 3-4 people, and then voted for the final idea that we would all team up to execute together. The winning idea involved using Arduino, IR sensors and stepper motor actuators to mechanically spin iridescent bubbles hanging off the balconies on each floor to signify that activity or "innovation" was happening on that floor, in that moment. 

Implementation of the project involved charrettes, prototyping, testing, and iteration with plumbing snakes, water hoses, laser-cut acrylic gears that could brake the bubbles to hold an hourglass shape when paused, joint connectors and many other hardware materials such as gear valves, ferrules and wooden saddles. Challenges naturally arose working with 15 designers all together, plus putting on a physical exhibit involved getting past layers of permission from the Facilities Management Office in just 4 weeks time. Pulling off a live exhibit that showcased real-time interaction taught us many things involving project and time management, communication between designers and business-minded folk, as well as mechanical problems that differed from studio tests to the actual environment space. 

Please read more and appreciate our project on Behance: