Category: Assignment-03-Blink

Like Strangers to an OPEN Sign

The neon OPEN sign and its variants designate temporary shelters for the public. In my IFTTT recipe, this universal symbol is co-opted for the purpose of remedying loneliness.

OPEN Sign is a hassle-free way to invite strangers into your home. One need only tweet a message containing the hashtag #lonely, and the sign will emit an attractive, familiar glow. This avoids the inconvenience of getting out of bed to switch on a sign, as well as the depressing rituals of other loneliness antidotes (like poking people on Facebook). The OPEN Sign is a direct, unambiguous invitation. Most importantly, it provides the satisfaction of a real-life encounter should it succeed in instigating one.

(It may be placed in front of a door, window, garage door, or on the participant’s body.)



“I Love You”

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My blink system connects emails with the subject lines “I Love You” to the navel of their recipient. The small light, embedded in the belly button of the person receiving the email, glows yellow, orange, and finally red, to emulate the flickering colors of a gentle flame. This connection is all about intimacy. I wanted to show that light can be a strong personal force, fostering connections between one or two individuals and not necessarily vast communities. Working in this way limited my trigger choices. The trigger is derived from an intimate conversation: email correspondence. Email communication has become an important facet of my life as I start college away from friends and family. I chose the navel because of its hidden nature. Modesty leads most people to cover their belly buttons in public, so most of the time they are only seen in intimate contexts. Notification in this way allows the receiver to experience it alone. In the pre-days of our lives, the navel is how we connect with the world outside the womb, and the point from which we get sustenance. The nutrients we receive are our fuel, and keep us going. Later in life, I have found that emotional sustenance has become just as important as literal fuel. “I Love You” is an emotional boost of energy that ignites the will to live. I chose the colors of fire to show this ignition.

(Photo of my sister used with permission.)

public sun, personal sun


There are two recipes: one uses sunset and the other uses sunrise as trigger. Each event produces different Blink(1) patterns to simulate the color spectrum that happens at sunset or sunrise. The duration of the patterns also tries to match the approximate duration of the phenomena. The sunrise and sunset, however, aren’t in Pittsburgh; they are in one of the most polluted cities in the world, Linfen (China). I imagine this Blink(1) to be in Linfen (or really, any other extremely polluted city that can seldom see the sun, or rather, that can’t see the true colors of the sky when sun sets or rises), shining in the midst of the city for people to see the vibrant colors of the sky when the sun rises and sets. It would be cool to see the Blink(1) attached to a sort of a pole that would enable it to go up and down, matching the sun’s movements over time. I call this the public sun:

publicsun copy

There’s a personal sun too; I imagine the light to be inside a translucent white ball.

personalsun copy

This isn’t an environmental message; it’s for the people living in a gray city to enjoy at least little of their space being illuminated by the actual colors of the sky when the sun sets or rises, rather than the red/yellow that manages to penetrate the thick air. I don’t really expect people to react strongly to it or even catch on to the reason the light is changing within a specific color spectrum at a specific moment, but I do want to brighten up the day for those who do know what the public/personal suns are about.

It would also be a good time indicator too in general for the utilitarians.

(P.S. all the GIFs aren’t really representative of the time span of the suns)

A Bright Day for Dreary Weather

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If there is a 30% or higher chance of rain, then blink!

My recipe triggers blink1 every time the phrase 30% chance of rain appears in the RSS feed. I have not been able to create a single recipe that can search for 30% chance or higher reports for the daily weather, but that is the idea I wanted to get across.

In my model, the blink1 light is replaced by a personal umbrella. When there is a relatively good chance of rain, the umbrella can be set to flash a color on the morning of a rainy day, or an hour before there is an approaching shower. The colors will serve as a reminder for the owner to bring the umbrella along with him/her. (This is something that I always forget to do, and I’m sure it is common for many other college students who have not adjusted to watching out for themselves…) Another possibility is to have the umbrella glow different colors to match the forecast for the day. For instance, if it is mostly sunny, the umbrella can glow yellow or orange. This would make the weather forecast a simple, visual experience for people who have trouble reading the numbers printed on websites.

In addition, if overcast days make people feel dreary or grey, then the colorful light will serve as a positive contrast to the situation.

umby It was very hard to take good pictures of this in the dark, so here is another picture! :D


Blink- Imaginative IFTTT

My Recipe for the blink was not based on being amazing or grand but something that the average person (especially me) may find useful. No matter if I have a phone or not, I never check the weather before going out and therefore end up underdressed or overdressed. Well, no more! I suggest we add lights (blinks) around the city (maybe in lamp posts?) which will glow yellow to blue depending on what the weather is 24/7. The idea is that if I look out the window when I wake up, I can see something like this:

blink weather 1

This may also be useful in dire situations. I imagine that these lights will start blinking wildly if a flood warning or other such weather warning has been posted. If an evacuation has been enacted (such as what happened with the tornadoes in Oklahoma this year) then the blinks will begin blinking in neon wild colors. In this way, those who are not next to any technology can still be warned if something terrible should happen.

A close up view:

blink close up

They would be protected by circular glass.


Seizure Light

Should an intruder ever break into my house, I would send a text to IFTTT. This would trigger every single wall in my house, which will be made out of giant light bulbs, to flash rapidly with magenta and blue. This technique is known to induce seizures, as accidentally demonstrated after the initial airing of an episode of Pokemon in 1997, which send 685 viewers to hospitals. This will hopefully buy me enough time to escape, call the police, or kick the intruder while he/she is down.