When Life Meets Life – Interactive Pyramids

The When Life Meets Life: Interactive Pyramids installation accentuates the desert filled with diverse forms of life that react to life differently based on varied circumstances. The installation is composed of three pyramids that respond to shadows (during the day) and light (during the night), by producing a diverse array of sounds and shades of light that are aesthetically designed to represent and reflect a particular emotion. Pyramids symbolize life after death which is a metaphor for the life in the desert even when we assume this terrain to be dead and this helps us understand life at a much deeper level. The desert context in our project provides an extreme environment in hopes of stimulating thinking and exploration of possibilities to redefine what life can be.

Installation Pictures

Interaction Design and Technical Implementation

The outer layer of the structure is 3D-printed using transparent PLA to give the perfect shape and an artistic design. Each pyramid contains an M4 Express board with a featherwing, a neo-pixel ring, a light sensor, and a speaker. There are laser-cut acrylic separators present inside the pyramid which are essential to segregate the neo-pixel ring and the light sensor from the rest of the hardware so as to get a clean glow. During the day, when shadows are cast upon the pyramids, the light sensor detects this interaction and signals to produce sound. The mp3 audio files are uploaded to the M4 Featherwing board from which they are relayed to the speaker. During the night, explorers travel through the desert with their flashlights. When the pyramid’s light sensor gets triggered by the light, it sends a color pattern to the neo-pixel ring which makes the pyramids glow in symphony with the music, reflecting a particular emotion and revealing themselves as life in the desert.

Team Members

Erica Wu, Kevin Chu, Shreya Goel, Swostik Pati

Special thanks to Professor Michael Ang for all the mentorship and guidance he has provided us with throughout the process of making the project!


Interactive Media Showcase Fall 2022 – NYU Abu Dhabi (blog)

Links to Past Blogs

Interactive Pyramids Blog: Follow us through our journey of creating the installation artwork from the very process of pitching the idea to creating a storyboard, a rapid prototype, and finally installing it in the desert.