Introduction: Interactive Welcome Carpet

Interactive welcome flower Carpet viz. Pookalam, is a welcome ritual from India. It’s an interactive carpet made of fresh flowers. The flower carpet changes pattern when it senses arrival of a guest and when the guest moves away from the carpet The project was part of the Housewarming exhibition by Fabrica for Airbnb, presented at the 2015 Milan Furniture Fair.

The pattern of the flower-spread is such that when certain parts of the carpet rotate, they result in different combinations of patterns. The flower carpet is idle until it detects a guest arriving and starts morphing into different patterns. I designed changing patterns as it makes the viewer absorb more into the carpet. The intention is that of sort of hypnotizing the guest to make them forget all of the things that may upset them in the external world, welcoming them in a beautiful setting to distract them from everyday trouble

Step 1: Re-visualizing the Welcome Ritual

The concept is based on the idea of being mindful while arriving to a destination. The status of being present (virtually and physically) has changed over the time. I got inspired by the simple act of arriving to a destination (someone’s home), as a guest. When coming from outside, our mind is preoccupied with different thoughts and is in a process of thinking. As soon as we see something strikingly beautiful and visually strong, we stop thinking for that moment and are just looking. This puts us in the present moment and thinking of nothingness. So before entering the house, the guest is a bit more grounded and in the present moment than they were earlier.

Step 2: Breaking the Process

Brief summary of Working -

As soon as the proximity sensor detects a person arriving, it triggers the servos to rotate into predefined combinations of positions, creating different patterns. The speed (rotation per minute), direction (left to right or vice versa) and angle (0 to 180 degree) of the rotation give the possibility of a number of different final designs when the servos stop rotating. The pattern is designed in a way that it could create multiple combinations. Studying and creating various moving optical illusions derived the pattern.

Materials: Metal base structure, Dried or fresh flower petals, 4 Servomotors (180 degrees), 2 PIR sensor, High intensity double sided tape, quick glue spray, an Arduino and external Power supply.

Things in Handy: Electronic beginner toolkit,Solder end, connector pins and basic connectors.

Step 3: Design of Structure

I. Product Design (All dimension are in cm)

1. Pre-cut the metal technical drawing on a metal structure in a piece and assemble them. I preferred metal as it was cheaper than wood. The weight did not bother much cause the servo motors could withstand the weight.

2. Place the mother surface on the base leaving the 4 separate disc cavities open.

Step 4: Adding the Interaction

II. Electronic placement (Interactive)

3. Fix all the 4 servo motors on the base board through the open cavity and the PIR sensor in front on the edge where the guest movement is in proximity.

4. Boot the code on your Arduino and connect it with a separate power supply.

5. Align all of them in one direction by setting them at 0 or 180. Calibrate the sensors and run the entire code

6. Fix the 4 loose discs in the cavity in the centre of servo axis. Align by running the code. High intensity double sided tape works really well.

(Attached is the code in a txt file. Run it with arduino.)

Tips: Make a single servo work first and then the rest.

Step 5: Moving Pattern Design and Its Placement

III. Visual design

7. Print the designed pattern on a sticker paper to place on the metal structure.This defines how the flower petals would lay on the metal surface.

8. Spray the glue over the printed paper and lay the petals on the pattern.

9. Run the code and wait for the petals to scatter a bit due to movement. Rearrange them in a way so they do not move.

Note: 4 different placement of same mother pattern

Attached below is the printable file for the carpet.

Step 6: Clean Up

IV. Clean up

10. Tape the loose wires under the tape camouflaging with the floor.

11. Clean up

12. Let the Arduino and power supply rest for 30 min after 4-5 hours of performance.

Make it Move Contest 2016

Second Prize in the
Make it Move Contest 2016