final project: 3D mirror (Aditi Hebbar)

Abstract / concept statement

inspiration is from a project from the MIT tangible media group titled “Moving Blocks Mimic Human Movements” ( . I intend to create an 2D array of movable blocks as in the picture below:

Each block would have a single neo pixel LED on top of it. The goal of the project would be to use this array to create a sort of “3D mirror” (the LED’s create the color; the blocks move up or down to add depth) reflecting objects/people front of it. In contrast to the MIT lab project which aims to mimic human movement, this project aims to mimic human appearance.


  • Kinect camera (depth sensing is easy with this)
  • Raspberry pi (uses open cv to detect objects/humans, moves blocks/ add colour to LED’s accordingly)
  • Acrylic blocks, have to laser cut (number depends on size of array, TBD)
  • Singular adafruit neopixel LED’s (number depends on size of array, TBD)
  • Multiplexing hardware (need to be able to control numerous blocks and LED’s, unsure of how many/what type)
  • Solenoids/vacuum tubes? to move the blocks, unsure what hardware to use to facilitate easy vertical movement


I’ll need some software that’s able to identify the contours of a person’s body (so I can do cool stuff like add depth with the blocks only to image person’s body), and openCV is perfect for this.

Order of construction and testing

  1. Figure out how to make a single acrylic piece move up and down at different levels, and add the neo pixel LED on top controlling both simultaneously.
  2. Figure out how to multiplex several blocks.
  3. Create a 2D array of blocks with LED’s on top.
  4. Create the multiplex and attach to rpi. Control the movement of the blocks/LEDs efficiently with RPI. Ask for help if required.
  5. Debug, and get feedback at this point.
  6. Figure out how to use the Kinect and openCV to get desired input.
  7. Control Blocks and LEDs with input
  8. show it to someone who isn’t in phys comp and ask them to try it out
  9. incorporate feedback, add aesthetic and make a case if required.
  10. make an information poster for the final show.
  11. write up my artist’s statement for the final show.

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