Final Project: Temperate Tree

[cc]My original idea was inspired by the ever-changing and unpredictable weather of Pittsburgh. I wanted to create a visually appealing piece that would be able to portray this weather regardless of the season or time of year. My first sketch relied heavily on servos and moving parts, however, in my final project I decided to streamline my design.

This final product is hooked up to a live feed HTML website that I wrote to retrieve the weather forecast. The Arduino then interprets the data and converts the information into a visual display of the different type of season that the current weather might reflect.








There are four seasons that the tree can portray, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring. The tree rotates and displays different colored leaves depending on what season we would traditionally associate with the current weather regardless of the actual time of year.

My concept is to be able to have this display in my room and act as a visual representation of the weather so that I can get ready in the morning with an accurate idea of the weather in Pittsburgh regardless of its often deceptive appearance.

Code and Website:


Final Project Proposal-Changing of the Seasons


I wanted to create an organic interactive kinetic installation that represented the changing of the seasons, which was mainly inspired by the temperamental weather we are experiencing. It will be a tree that is mounted on a turntable which will spin at different rates depending on the interaction with the user. It will also have leaves that will change color corresponding with the appropriate response. Lastly, the branches will be connected to a pulley system which will determine their angle. The idea is that there will be four settings or ‘seasons’ that will be represented by the tree. I currently have two running ideas for the user interaction. The first requires a motion sensor that will track the speed at which the user walks past the installation and use this information to determine the corresponding season. The second idea relies on the facial expressions or mood of the user.



  • Materials for the body of the tree (wire?)
  • (Clear) Acrylic for leaves
  • RGB LEDs
  • High torque motor
  • High precision motor
  • springs
  • PIR Motion sensor or webcam ( depending on direction)
  • at least 2 speakers
  • micro SD Card and adaptor


  • Stores and plays multiple different tracks
  • Use open CV for the facial recognition component if necessary
  • Controls the RGB LEDs and motors

Order of construction and testing:

  1. Make a leaf that can turn different colors using RGB LED
  2. Make turntable with hole in center for wires
  3. Make the trunk of the tree using wires
  4. Make body of tree hollow to mount on turntable
  5. Design housing for the motor that controls branches
  6. Build branches with corresponding leaves
  7. Find way to control multiple LEDs with different settings (different variations of colors for each season)
  8. Figure out how to make the LEDs and motors work at the same time without tangling wires
  9. Figuring out a way to conceal the strings and wires
  10. Learn how to play multiple different tracks on the speakers and determine if one is enough or if two is necessary for the full effect
  11. Learn how to use SD Cards
  12. Mount PIR  and figure out the threshold values
  13. Learn how to use facial recognition software and webcam (determine if it is worth the extra work)
  14. Let other people try it out and see what their reaction/ interaction with it is ( can they figure it out or is it not obvious enough)
  15. Fix everything that doesn’t work
  16. Repeat!


Spooky Skull

For this project, I was inspired by the nearness of Halloween. I wanted to incorporate the festive feel. My original idea involved a hand that would recoil as you got close to it. My plan was to tie one end of a string to the individual fingers and the other end to a servo that would coil the string when activated, and consequently pull in the fingers. Unfortunately, the library required to play the converted audio file interfered with the servo library so the two could not work in tandem. My solution was to use a solenoid instead. With the solenoid incorporated, it made more sense to directly relate the audio aspect to the visual component, resulting in an evil laughing skull. If had the opportunity to recreate the project I would like to retry the recoiling hand idea.



Link to Code:

Stairway To Heaven


For this project, my idea originated from a classic rock song by one of my favorite bands, Led Zeppelin. This story is about a character who has to climb the stairway to heaven. I show the long journey that they go through by engraving each step with a footprint. As time goes on, the character climbs the stairs faster and faster.


In theory the stairs were supposed to gradually unravel on their own, however, the speed of the motor was too temperamental to make slow enough for the desired effect. As a result, the steps were inconsistent in fanning out the way I would have liked.

Link to the folder with code and video:


Link for just videos:



Moody Monster

My project is based on the idea of relaying an emotion of the user based on the input that they feed the Arduino.

The little monster expresses emotions that are directly related to the speed at which the user presses the button, and the intensity with which they press it. The ‘intensity’ is calibrated by the potentiometer connected to the board. On the setting with high intensity, the faster the user presses the button, the angrier the monster gets. The slower the button is pressed on high intensity, the sadder the monster gets. On low intensity, the faster the button is pushed, the more scared or nervous the monster gets while the slower the button is pushed, the more tired he gets. In both intensity settings, if the user pushes at a medium pace the monster will be happy.

The following is a link to the video, code, and circuitry: