Cathy Tung Final Project


Designers spend time on matching colors. However, the best matching inspirations sometimes come from the nature around us. The lamp is designed to help designers get objects’ RGB color. (See details in Instructables)


Step 1 – Ideation

Project started from concept ideation. I created ideas from abstract shapes to realistic products. Sketching will help you to visualize ideas flying in your head. Meanwhile, you can also find “smart product project” online for getting creative inspirations. The channels related to smart object, physical computing, IoT, etc are listed below: 

Step 2 – Shopping

Once you get clear idea of concept, you can start making a shopping list. Before you go to check, make sure all the parts are available with each other. I recommend you to buy circuit on Adafruit, which has clear spec and instruction.

Step 3 – Circuit Design

Basically you can find some open resource projects to learn from. Thanks to Becky Stern’s Chameleon Scarf project.

When soldering components together, remember to differentiate channels with different colors. The circuit I designed having Uno, color sensor, neopixel strip, and photoresistor.

  • Black – Uno Ground + Color sensor Ground + Neopixel Ground + Photoresistor Round
  • Red – Uno 5v + Color sensor VIN + Neopixel 5v + Photoresistor Positive
  • Yellow – Uno SCL + Color sensor SCL
  • Blue – Huzzah SDA + Color sensor SDA 
  • White – pin for Photoresistor
  • Green – pin number for Neopixel

Step 4 – Physical Structure

Cutting basal foam for making structure and hiding circuit. Using solid ring wood piece as the base of Neopixel strip.

Step 5 – Finalize

In order to get smooth and high-quality texture of product surface, I used aqua resin(the most typical mix ratios of liquid and powder are 1:3 by weight or 1:2 by volume) to coat the balsa foam and sanded with sanding paper.

Next Step

In order to using color efficently, the next step will use Huzzah instead of Uno and send objects’ RGB Decimal Code to users through the internet.

Nihaarika and Monica’s PoD Student Mood Tracker

Nihaarika & Monica’s Final Project


Overwhelmed college student

It is normal that school is challenging and, at times, deeply so! But sometimes things really do get out of control, and students, unable to communicate to their teachers and advisors how they are feeling, can fall over the edge. It is at this point–when students are burnt out, sleep deprived, and even physically ill, that the institution notices that it’s time for a change.

We believe this is an issue of feedback delay. What if teachers and academic advisors knew before it is too late, that school life for students is going downhill? What if there was a way to stop the burn out and misery before it happened?

The Concept

Preliminary Sketch

The mood tracker is inspired by the notion of checking in on how a group of people are doing using “thumbs” as a visual cue. An upward, side, or downward-pointing thumb signifies a good, ok, or bad emotional state, respectively 👍👎

When a students punch in their mood on the tracker, the tracker tallies up the number of presses for each button. When any one button reaches 20 presses, the tracker sends data to an internet feed, which in turn triggers an email to the academic advisor announcing the student status.

Let’s See It In Action

Product in use

This product is designed to help academic advisors to know how a student cohort is doing on a daily or weekly basis, so that they can take action when needed.


The concept of of checking in date back to the 1960’s practice of punching. -in at work.

Our mood tracker bears a core resemblance to the standing satisfaction booths in airport bathrooms and stadiums.

However, our product goes further in that it is not so much an endless vessel for feedback, but an alert system that is triggered at specific moments to help educational institutions and staff know when to check in with their students. 

The Neumann study found emotional exhaustion and lack of felt accomplishment are ingredients of the burnout process. Therefore, Emotional fatigue greatly influences student performance and affects personal commitment which makes it important to track and prevent.

Lastly, we use the thumbs similar to the iconic Facebook “LIKE” since it is a familiar concept to a majority of our target audience -Millennials.

Open-Sourcing the Mood Tracker

A mood tracker can be used in settings other than schools. It would be interesting to imagine this product in work settings as well.

To create your on Mood Tracker for school or work, click here and follow the steps.

How We Did It: Our Process

User Story Board
User Story Board
Low Fidelity Model
3D Rendering
Final Product

Final Product Shots

PoD Mood Tracker: Vote Good
PoD Mood Tracker: Vote Bad

Future Projections

Lastly, since emotional feelings are a lot more complex and subjective to each individual having a detailed database on who clicks what button throughout the week would help understand individual emotions better.

What we learned

Once again, two steps forward, one step back.

Don’t let power and ground touch.

Kaylan’s Sculptural Light


This interactive table light fixture was inspired by the work of famous mid-century designer, Gerrit Rietveld. Each panel is touch-activated and is independent from one another, allowing for endless color possibilities.



The making part went pretty smoothly since I’ve used acrylic in a previous project at POD.


1. Soldering

Pretty amazing how big of a difference 1mm makes. I initially bought 4mm extra narrow LED strip and it was impossible to solder. The wires kept falling off. I ended up getting a new 5mm strip last minute and it worked much better.

2. Switching from Huzzah back to Uno
Arduino Huzzah
Arduino Uno

I initially started on the Huzzah board but couldn’t figure out how to sync the LED strip to the sensors, even though the sensors were working. Because I didn’t need internet connectivity anyway, I decided to switch back to Uno.

3. Coding

Coding has always been my weakest skill. After a lot of back and forth, I came across the “buttoncycler” code which I was able to modify and perfected with the help of Becky.

4. Only 2 out of 3 panels work…

In the initial test, all 3 panels work perfectly independently but once assembled, in the first test run, something must have happened because the sensors become not so sensitive anymore and I had to tap repeatedly in different spots for quite a while to trigger the animation.

Edited version
Unedited version

Next Steps

  1. I would love to take apart the two panels that are not working and try to fix them.
  2. I did not anticipate the wires to be so bulky – makes sense since there are 4 from each panel – I would like to try using all white wires for a more refined minimal look.


Erika’s Final – 1min Punch Break

Instructables link:

Take a Break, Let it Out

We’d probably all agree that physical release can be the most satisfying and relieving outlet when stress levels are high or a burst of adrenaline runs through our veins.

The One Minute Punch Break creates a healthy space for frustrations and pent up emotions, designed to turn tension into release and then a smile. Intended to be mounted on the walls of offices and co-working spaces, the massive button starts a 60-sec LED timer while each punch you make is reflected on the counter.

Is working from home driving you insane? Does your office need an anger zone? Or do you find yourself needing an outlet before a big presentation? You probably need to make yourself one of these…

STEP 1: Sketches

STEP 2: Code

STEP 3: Build

STEP 4: Finishing touches!


Liam’s Pharus Lamps


The name Pharus comes from the latin word for Beacon. I chose this because of the characteristics that many of us attribute to that word. A beacon of light is physical, but also emotional and spiritual. By connecting through the internet and effecting each others light, it provides the connection and the sense of safety that a beacon provides, even when you’re far away.

Instructables Link

Progress Photos / Sketches

Stage 1:

Stage 2: Exploring forms

Stage 3: Breadboard & Code

Stage 4: Solder-type Breadboard & more code

Stage 5: 3D Model and Mold Making

Minor Hiccups

Stage 6: Casting Cement

Stage 7: Final Circuit and Lamp Lid

Achi’s Final Project

For my final project I sought out to make a nightstand thermostat that shows what the outside temperature is so you can wake up and properly dress for the day. The thermostat shows two different icons, a snowflake for when its cold and a flame for when its hot.



The project started by experimenting with Adafruit’s Dotstar Matrix LEDs, which I had never used before. There were little to no tutorials so the best thing I could do was to start playing with it. I tried a series of codes which helped me understand how the pixel LEDs worked. One of the most tricky things to do was to learn how to connect the matrices and align them to what the code was meant to portray.

After figuring out the right connectivity, I went into experimenting with making icons with the pixels. I learned how to turn on and off individual pixels so I created a chart to manually mark out the pixels I wanted to turn on in order to show what I wanted on the matrices. In order to draw the icons in pixels I used and continued to manually mark down the individual pixels on my chart.

After the code was done I proceeded to glue the matrices together carefully, in order to have a more accurate display.

Lastly, I 3d modeled a casing for the matrices and arduino uno board. I created a separate lid with holes designed to hold magnets for easy access to the board in case something goes wrong and a hole in the back to slide the power cable through.

After that was done, I proceeded to glue the arduino uno board inside the box, and an acrylic piece on the inside of the lid. The semi translucent acrylic helped diffuse the Dotstar LEDs. The matrices were later glued to the back of the acrylic.

When Everything was in place I connected the matrix to the uno board and closed the lid.


Snowflake and 38 degrees:

Flame and 91 degrees:

Charvi’s Final Project WIP

My friends and I have a tradition of calling each other at exactly midnight, so that we are the first ones to wish. But since moving to the States, I have been struggling to keep up with the time difference between India and the US, and keep missing out on my friends’ birthdays.

I want to create a device that I wish my friends could have gifted me before Ieft home.

Meet “Better Not Forget My Birthday!” plush toy. It’s a red velvet cupcake with white choco-chips. It comes in a fun dessert-like packaging and has a funny message on the inside, reminding your forgetful friend about things more important than grad school!

Inspiration images
Different components of “Better not forget my birthday”

Movie Scenes

  1. Your best friend tells you that they are moving to another country
  2. You’re super happy for them
  3. They have been running super busy with packing and last minute work
  4. You haven’t had a chance to meet them at all since you heard the good news
  5. You wonder if they will forget you once they move abroad
  6. You walk by a window display and see “gifts for a friend moving away”
  7. You find “Better not forget my birthday! and think it’s the perfect gift.
  8. While saying emotional goodbye to your friend at the airport
  9. You hand them over the beautifully packaged “dessert” box
  10. The friend opens the box and you both start laughing.
  11. A few months later, it’s your birthday and the friend, busy working on their laptop, and the red velvet cupcake glows softly at 1.30 PM, not distracting the people working around like.