Tag Archives: Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design

Trojan 77 is a gamified simulation of the Trojan virus

Inspired by labyrinth, this project highlights the most significant effects of the Trojan virus.

Developed by a team of students at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, Trojan 77 is a gamified simulation of the infamous Trojan virus — a malware that provides unauthorized remote access to a user’s computer. The game, which was originally devised as a tech museum exhibit, aims to shed light on the most important effects the virus.


Much like the labyrinth game you played growing up, Trojan 77 simulates a few key effects of the virus, such as passwords leaking out and files being deleted, culminating in a system failure. To help explain the intricacies of the malware, the team built the project on the metaphor of a maze with players having the perspective of the hacker.

As you can see in the video below, the ball represents the Trojan virus. The player must get the ball to stop at cetain touchpoints throughout the maze by tiling the structure back and forth. Each touchpoint holds valuable data, like passwords and pictures. Once a touchpoint is hit, the data can be then be ‘accessed’ by the hacker. If successful, the vrius will crash the system once the final touchpoint is reached.


“The idea of designing something analog to explain a digital construct was an exciting challenge to undertake. The way that computer viruses operate can be very complicated and hard to explain without overloading people with detailed information,” the team writes. “Making this information visual via animated projections helped to communicate the effects in a fun and memorable way. It also enabled us to communicate the same information to children without any negative connotations, but simply educational.”

Housed inside the wooden structure lies an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) and two servo motors, controlled by a joystick that enables the tilting.


This enchanted lamp can make money on its own

The Aspirational Lamp collects solar energy, sells it back to the power grid and then invests in the stock market itself. 

“We are now standing at the precipice of the next transformative development: the Internet of Things. Soon, connected technology will be embedded in hundreds of everyday objects we already use: our cars, wallets, watches, umbrellas, even our trash cans. These objects will respond to our needs, come to know us, and learn to think on our behalf,” researcher David Rose once said when defining ‘enchanted objects.’

Whether it’s homeowners hitting an Amazon Dash Button when in need of groceries or smart trash cans that reorder bags themselves, the world around us is becoming increasingly more connected and autonomous. With this is mind, students from the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design were challenged to explore a future in which the so-called dumb objects around them were able to look after their owners’ unspoken wants and desires.


One of the latest projects to emerge from the course was The Aspirational Lampa solar-powered accessory that can actually make money of its own during the day. Yes, you read that correctly. The lamp accomplishes this by soaking up the sun’s rays to generate electricity that it can then sell back to the power grid, and with the profits made from that, automatically invest in stocks. The enchanted item browses the market for good-looking investment opportunities while determining the optimal times to both buy and sell.


The brainchild of students Feild Craddock, Akshay Verma and Michael-Owen Liston, the AI-controlled desk lamp doesn’t just use electricity, but as its name would imply, rotates toward the sun to collect its own through a built-in solar panel. Aside from checking stock prices, it even appears to be self-diagnostic. Meaning, it can detect when a part like its servo motor begins to malfunction, then immediately order and pay for a replacement without any human intervention.


What the owners can control, however, is when to cash out. In this case, a check for the lamp’s remaining funds are automatically mailed to the owner. As far fetched as goals of selling power back to the grid may be, the basis of the project is to demonstrate that everyday objects will continue to become increasingly more connected and self-sufficient.

Intrigued? Watch it in action below!

This Arduino-powered plant wants to take a selfie

As part of their “Secret Life of Objects” class, a group of CIID students created a selfie-taking plant. 

Without question, 2014 will forever go down in history as the year of the selfie. You’ve seen them just about everywhere, whether it’s your Facebook news feed, Instagram stream or running rampant on Snapchat. The idea of taking a photo of oneself and sharing it has become ubiquitous, transcending well beyond just a fad and into a self portrait reimagined for the age of social media. Selfies are believed to make up nearly one-third of all pictures taken by people between the ages of 18 and 24, not to mention, over half of all men and women have snapped at least one at some point in their lives. Now what if plants could do the same?


That was the idea behind a recent project from students at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. As a way to explore how the general public would react to the idea of nature interacting with their social lives, the group of Makers developed the aptly named Selfie Plant

“In recent times, the selfie culture has risen in popularity, but it has also raised a few questions,” the team explains. “Whether the selfie culture helps to build self-esteem or does it force us for self-obsession? Is it an expression for admiration or is it to achieve a sense of self, place and community? What if nature gets addicted to this selfie culture?”


The project expresses itself in the form of nice-looking selfies, which it captures based on its mood, weather and occasion. Impressively, the potted plant mimics human behavior by giving its best pose and adjusting the camera angle to take the ideal shot. And what would a selfie be without being shared online? The plant then goes on to post the images on Facebook.

The plant is powered by Arduino Yún (ATmega32U4), which controls a set of servo motors and adjusts the position of the plant and camera stick. Meanwhile, a Python script communicates with the Facebook’s graph API to post the captured photos on the plant’s profile.


In an effort to further bridge the gap between mankind and its environment, the CIID students hope to one day make the plant autonomous. Until then, you can watch it in action below or read more about it on GitHub here.

This wearable device puts your teacher on your shoulder

Like a hawk-eyed professor, this project gives a much more literal meaning to “looking over your shoulder.”  

According to Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design student Akarsh Sanghi, the lack of a hands-on approach in distance learning may be what’s constraining the teaching method from reaching a state of mainstream popularity. While some have already begun to embrace the online course approach, others have been a bit more reluctant given the limited access to one-on-one guidance. Cognizant of this fact, the Maker has launched a project that could potentially transform your bedroom into a more real-time educational setting.


To do so, Sanghi has developed a wearable device that provides a mentor with instantaneous insight into a learner’s environment through the coupling of a first-person point of view and an instructional laser pointer — all controlled by a mobile app. This pairing of technology enables a mentor to communicate with a student via the device he calls Grasp as they offer step-by-step instruction through the pointer. Teachers can converse using a built-in speaker/microphone combo, while a digital joystick on the app to direct the laser. The process is driven by an Arduino Yún (ATmega32U4).


“The idea was to learn new skills which are more physical in nature-like craftsmanship and require step-by-step instruction,” Sanghi tells The Creators Project. “In the 21st century when we are surrounded by digital devices and are occupied by a screen most of the time for every possible activity, I wanted to explore how can we break away from this cycle to learn something in a more organic and natural way.”

While the current version of the prototype may still be a bit bulky in size and comfort, the Maker hopes that Grasp could ultimately revolutionize f “on-demand learning.”


Want to learn more? You can head over to the project’s official page. Meanwhile, you may want to check out one of Sanghi’s other creations, The Sensing Umbrella.

Both friendships and flowers flourish with Air Garden

Gardening + Arduino = Garduino?

City dwellers immersed in the daily hustle and bustle seem all too often tend to overlook interacting with neighbors. Drawing on urban gardening practices and the space limitations of community housing, a team of Makers from the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design recently created Air Garden as an innovative way to form bonds among nearby tenants.


“We seek to introduce a space efficient environment, a give and take system that nurtures people to emotionally connect to their living spaces. Air Garden aims to foster indirect communication between tenants with the hope of creating a platform for connections and chance encounters,” Maker Amalia Goutaki writes.

How the system works is pretty simple. The edible plants move vertically along a column outside an apartment complex’s windows. Participating inhabitants can summon the plants to their window, pick from them, and assume responsibility for watering.


In order to bring this idea to life, the team created a pulley system based on a pair of Arduino boards: an Uno (ATmega328) for the pulley and a Yún (ATmega32U4) for the interactive portion of the plant. Buttons were placed on the side of its wooden structure, corresponding to each floor of the building. This enables a tenant to call upon the plant. The Arduino Uno is responsible for deciphering the plant’s distance from the ground and translates that information into either “tenant1,” “tenant2” or “tenant3,” depending on from where it is summoned.


The plant is equipped with two screws in its soil, which are connected by wires to the ATmega32U4 based Yún. According to its creators, values such as “watered,” “needs water” or “overwatered,” are then relayed to recipients. Once water is poured, the soil becomes more conductive, causing the values and messages to change accordingly. Both the apartment dweller’s floor and water condition are displayed on the pot’s easy-to-read LCD screen.


Interested in learning more? Head over to the project’s official page here. In the meantime, you can watch the Air Garden system in action below!

This smart umbrella tracks air pollution

What if your umbrella could help protect the world from air pollution while it protected you from rain? Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design students Saurabh Datta, Akarsh Sanghi, and Simon Herzog recently debuted an umbrella capable of just that. Appropriately dubbed “Sensing Umbrella,” the smart device has the ability to collect air pollution data during a nice stroll through the park or en route to work.

In order to bring the project to life, the team collaborated with Arduino Co-Founder Massimo Banzi. Created in conjunction with Giorgio Olivero of ToDo Design, the smart umbrella equipped with an Arduino Yún (ATmega32u4 MCU) is tasked with measuring local carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide pollution levels.

According to Co.Design’s Carey Dunne, the umbrella then visualizes this data in real-time through a sparkling LED light display on its surface. “Firefly-like lights change their color and rhythm in response to local pollution levels, spreading awareness of the air quality to city dwellers,” Dunne explained.

“This timestamped and geolocated data gets uploaded to the Cloud–to pollution databases–to be analyzed.”

With the emergence of the latest and greatest ’smart’ designs, this is rare piece of tech that aspires to do greater social good than just quantify and improve our individual selves. “As designers, we wanted to embrace this ongoing revolution of ‘The Internet of Things’ with a clear mission: to actively care for the people who use these connected devices,” Maker Akarsh Sanghi tells Co.Design.

In the long term, the Institute of Interaction Design students hope to generate local maps of air pollution hosted on an openly available web-based platform. “This project is entirely based on open-source hardware and software,” Sanghi says. Though the team doesn’t plan to monetize the project or open a company based on the concept, they do hope to create a worldwide event, or movement, in which crowdsourcing data via umbrella turns every person in society into a node in a larger network.

Interested in learning more? You can check out the Sensing Umbrella’s official page here or watch it in action below.