​​​​​​​Interactive Chair for the Seattle Sound Transit Link Light Rail

Video by Sasha Noerdin and Clara Too

Seattle Link riders want a reflective transit experience.
Our initial idea for this project was to create a surround sound musical experience to help passengers connect with each other while riding the Link light rail. However, in our participant research which we conducted through a Google survey, we found that the most common emotion felt during bus rides is 'reflective'. 
We wanted to honor the spirit of contemplation with this understated and unintrusive experience. The color of the chair is a plain white, and the shape allows for privacy by shielding the user and creating a solitary space for reflection.

Seattle Link riders want to have control over their auditory experiences. 
Participants wanted to be able to stop or change the music if they didn't like it. Therefore, we implemented a knock system to change or stop the music.
When someone sits on the chair, instrumental music starts playing. The music can be changed with one knock, and stopped with two knocks.​​​​​​​ 
We printed a sticker with a 'knock here' label to help guide the users into exploration and discovery.

My partner Sasha Noerdin and I created the chair prototype using a wooden frame draped with fabric. We added a motion sensor, two microphones, and a speaker to an Arduino in order to creating a working prototype. Through this project, we learned how to use a miter saw, how to solder, how to code an Arduino, and how to sew.

We faced many technical challenges along the way. From carrying planks of wood on the bus to researching how to code an Arduino, I was pushed way out of my comfort zone. Although the chair didn't turn out as beautifully as I had hoped it would, it was still really satisfying to sit on a chair that I had sketched and created from scratch. It was also really fun to learn how Arduino works, and I feel more confident now in trying new things when it comes to design.

Made for Design 325: Physical Computing

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