The Unicorn is a tangible interface to control the ambient light in the Living Place Lab. Sentimental artifacts, heirlooms, and personal belongings—displayed in homes—represent a person’s identity and social world. But a lot of these things are not meant to be integrated in ubiquitous computing environments. Therefore, this project considers the integration of personal artifacts into a home automation system. To do so, we purchased a vintage porcelain horse on the flea market and upcycled it with conductive components, such as a screw. Through the placement of the screw on the horse’s head, the porcelain horse transformed into a unicorn. To control the ambient light, we integrated the artifact into the Living Place Lab. To this end, the unicorn uses the ESP32 microcontroller and the capacitive sensor. When a user touches the unicorn’s horn, the unicorn publishes a message to the home automation environment and activates the rainbow lighting. In addition, a neo pixel LED provides a user’s feedback directly on the upcycled artifact.

In cooperation with Fabian Erdmann.

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