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Trial & Error


Team: Rachel Ariyavatkul, Paolo Catalla


This unusual vinyl signage is a QR code mapped onto multiple planes in perspective, so that it can only be scanned from a particular spot. This locates the user directly between two other pieces of the installation, the Colada and Color Cubed. Upon successful scanning of this code, visitors arrive at a screen where they can choose to interact with either one. The effect of walking past the signage is unique, as message and form are revealed gradually.

Trial & Error signage from Nevercool on Vimeo.

The prototyping process was exacting. Projected images had to be marked, measured, and then transformed in Illustrator to precise measurements. QR has some error correction built in when things are flat… but when the code gets mapped to more than one plane, we discovered that the proportions must be accurate.

QR code prototyping from Nevercool on Vimeo.



Team: Will Ruby, Rachel Ariavatkul, Amanda Matzenbach


This team was interested in creating a kind of collaborative visualizer with the mobile device as controller. Initially, research was focused on creating an interaction using the fidiucial markers used by the Reactivision project. This prototype allowed the user to scan the QR, which would link to a URL that would display a graphic marker on the user’s mobile device, which could then be placed on a transparent surface in front of a camera. Using computer vision, the system could then track orientation of the mobile device, and allow the user to interact with the projected visuals.


While this solution was both novel and functional, the speed of the interaction was limited by the frame rate of the camera/tracking software, and in testing it seemed that the interaction might be difficult for users to adapt to in a short time frame. The final prototype instead used a web application with a touch interface, which proved to be both immediately responsive and intuitive for the user.


Several iterations of the visual interaction were prototyped; some more game-like, some more abstract. The final implementation is a physics-driven system of generative visuals. When users’ markers collide on screen, persistent geometry is generated based on velocity and proximity, encouraging multi-user collaboration.

SEO Colada Documentation from Will Ruby on Vimeo.

What can we do?


Initial brainstorming produced a few promising conceptual directions. One of the initial ideas was to create a large scale building projection…an ambitious undertaking that came close to being realized, but the hardware came a little too late! Knowing that the building projection was a longshot, the class continued to work on interactive ideas for the interior spaces of the Taubman Center. Some of the strongest ideas included interactive projections and spaces, the increasing adoption of the QR code, as well as architectural typographic explorations.

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A confluence of ideas, experimentation and play


A few brave students put in some extra time over spring break to explore the initial possibilities, and through some experimentation, arrived at a combination of a few directions. We discovered that a QR could be played with, applied to multiple planes in a space, formally altered, and could still remain functional. We then agreed that all QR codes in this project must remain functional, and that became one of our primary creative constraints. We decided to explore ways the QR could be an interactive medium, with the goal of redfining the spaces of the Taubman Center.

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Team: Brian Jacob, Aileen Klebba, Brian Hendrickson

This team latched onto concept of the link between physical and virtual. This led to interaction with physical objects and spaces using virtual controls. A perfect fit for prototype work, the Arduino microncontroller was chosen as the actuator for these networked devices.

Initial concepts included electronic wayfinding via sound and light, collaborative interaction, and image capture. The team finally arrived at the concept of a “family” of Arduino-controlled devices called Cube3: a group of three plexiglass enclosures, each with a unique function.


Pixel Pix


Pixel Pix simulates the experience of being famous. The user scans the QR on the outside of the cube, and activates it via the mobile device. The cube then captures a photo with a unique visual twist, uses an algorithm to alter it, and sends it back to the mobile device in its “pixelated” form.


Pixel Pix from Nevercool on Vimeo.

These photos are then saved and become part of the grid of Interactive Windows on the first floor. Visitors to the show can see their photos on the way out!


One to One

So how do you scan the code on your own phone? Find a friend! The QR is scanned, and a different QR is loaded to the mobile screen. The dilemma of how to scan this code is solved by another user with another mobile device, who in turn must also find a friend to scan the code that loads to their device. Make sense? Each completed stage is rewarded with a sound and light response. When the interaction is completed, the box responds with a celebratory song, the lights chase excitedly, and lifelong friendships are forged.



Color Cubed


This piece gives the user a unique sense of control over their environment. In the bar/food/band area on the 8th floor, this team installed an internally-lit acrylic cube. The QR code links to an interface that allows the user to mix the color of the light. The cube itself runs on high powered LEDs and a wireless Xbee radio receiver hooked to an Arduino board. The multi-touch mobile interface allows the user to move three markers to control red, green and blue levels.


Trial & Error, Color Cubed from Nevercool on Vimeo.

The Quick Response installation


This year’s Experience Design class in the Graphic Design department at CCS was given the opportunity to create an installation for the 2011 Student Exhibition, and we accepted the challenge! Eight weeks of research, design and prototyping yielded eight individual pieces, all working together to create a unique interactive experience for the 2011 show visitors. The conceptual framework is an exploration of how digital space collides with real space, with an emphasis on transforming existing architecture. The subject matter we chose was a formal and functional exploration of the increasingly ubiquitous QR code.

This was not your everyday class project. This group really put in the time and created some great work. An unforgettable learning experience! Explore the links above or click here to see how it all went down.


While each team worked individually to execute individual pieces, there was a great deal of overall cross-group collaboration on the show as a whole.

Project Team: Rachel Ariyavatkul, Jennifer Barrett, Paolo Catalla, Brian Hendrickson, Cate Horn, Brian Jacob, Lani Kercado, Aileen Klebba, Amanda Matzenbach, Alex Poterek, Will Ruby, Nick Sternberg