Sensing activity levels in shared spaces

Design Challenge












In this 3-day project, we were tasked to apply a sense of magic to existing objects in the CIID building to resolve an issue faced by the students and designers.

Upon investigation, we noticed that the building’s narrow and linear architecture segregates the different groups across the levels, minimizing interaction amongst them. The students and designers weren't certain when they were welcome and how to make a shared space private. In many modern working environments like this, where public spaces are shared, raise questions about activity and availability. Is the kitchen crowded? Are you intrigued when there’s an event and wonder if you can get involved? We sought to resolve the issue by crafting magical connected objects.




Inspired by extrasensory perception, we designed Aura - light portals into shared spaces. These light portals sense and communicate energy levels and activity levels of shared spaces through sensors and wireless data transfer.

How it works

Each portal visually displays three levels of information: occupancy, noise level, and whether the current activity is public or private. The LEDs gradually fills up the portal as a room’s occupancy increases. Sound level modulates brightness of the lights– quieter spaces are dim while loud activity is bright.
Each portal is also connected to a privacy timer which can be turned on for private events. When “private”, the portals glow a soft orange; when “public”, the portals glow an engaging white. 



A fully functioning prototype was developed during a 5-day workshop on Enchanted Objects at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design with Arun Mota, Francesca Desmarais, Haz Roth, Paula Te and Peter Otto Kuhberg.  

This project is also featured in D'SIGN Magazine.

See full project at the CIID project page.