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ASU Design Excellence Winner Fall 2018



an interactive art installation featured in Scottsdale Public Art's annual Canal Convergence event

WaterWorks is an educational micro-experience interaction that focuses on the concept of "working for water". The installation features an iconic water pump and an array of water bottles. By operating the pump, the water bottles symbolically "fill up" one by one as indicated by an illumination underneath each of the vessels. This interaction is intended to trigger users to think about how water is obtained and the need for conservation.

Designed and created by Cindy Kim & Ting-Yu Lin

Aug 2018 - Nov 2018

12 weeks

project goals + challenges

design and fabricate a fun interactive art installation using water + art + light

$300 budget / no power outlet / withstand 10 days of abuse in public

process album


Site Plan Visit 

Visited the Canal at Scottsdale Waterfront (Camelback & Scottsdale Rd) to observe the environment of where the event would take place.


Tonalea school visits

We had the opportunity to meet with Tonalea Middle School students to find ways of gaining insight and inspiration for our installations.


A Theme Develops

Our class began to develop a solidified theme of a "storm" which eventually led to the creation of "DROPS".


Ideation + Synthesizing

Explored various interactive concepts and started synthesizing the different parts of the design together. 


Prototype I

Created prototypes to experiment the level of user-understanding of our concept executed into a tactile interaction.  


Prototype II

Thought of ways to implement lights into our concept to further enhance the interaction and experience of visual representations


A Pleasant Discovery 

Upon researching ways to use lights, we discovered the magical illuminating effect of combining tonic water and UV light (blacklight). 


Final Build Plan + Materials

Developed a build plan on how we were going to execute our final concept and what materials would be utilized. 


Materials Shopping

Started buying materials that were locally available while ordering various tech parts via online sources. 


Cube I

The first cube was built out of 1/2" thick MDF boards. 


The Triangle Corner

The triangle corner, which became an essential part of the Drops brand identity, was formed by cutting a corner of the MDF cube with a power saw. 


The Pump

The cast iron pump was bought online and spray painted. We had to drill the attachment points of the limit switch very precisely to secure efficient triggering of the lights.


Cube II

The second cube was built out of 1/2" thick acrylic sheets. 


Sudoku Inspired Boxes

The various heights of the box stands were formed by solving a 4x4 sudoku grid of the numbers 2/4/6/8  to represent the different height placements. 


Implementing the UV Lights

To achieve the brightest illumination of the bottles, we ended up lathing 16 UV flashlight ends and soldering 32 magnet wires onto the positive/negative ends of each. 


Implementing Arduino

Through the use of Arduino boards, we were able to achieve the light effects to properly communicate the message of our interaction.


Creating Light Trigger Sequence

Because we only had one 8 channel relay module, we were limited to triggering two bottles to light up at a time in order to have all 16 bottles go through a full cycle.


Final Paint Finish + Assembly

After confirming the placement of the wires, it was time for final paint coats and assembly for wire connection.  


Connecting 32 Wires

Labeled the positive and negative ends of each light connected to the boxes and poked 32 magnet wires through the central hole of the platform that directly flowed into cube i. 


The Final Result

On November 6, 2018 the concept of WaterWorks was officially brought to life!!!


Transportation Day

On November 7th 2018, we moved WaterWorks to the Scottsdale Canal ready for the public to interact with.


Charging the Batteries

Because there were no power outlets, WaterWorks was entirely battery powered therefore we had to nightly charge and set up the batteries for every day of the event. 


Post Installation Maintenance

The public was aggressively curious with our installation hence daily maintenance was needed to survive the event. (the "BE GENTLE PLZ" stickers helped) 


User Observation

Watching users (especially kids) be so engaged and fascinated by WaterWorks was so rewarding and insightful! 

materials used


cast iron pump


voss water bottles

 led lights


the event

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Canal Convergence is a public art festival that introduces a series of free educational activities and interactive art installations at the Scottsdale Waterfront.

The 10 day event showcased 11 exhibitions and attracted over 200,000 visitors.


Unfortunately, due to the aggression of the public's curiosity, WaterWorks met its death on the 8th day of the event. However, witnessing real-life user interactions and experiences from so many different people was heavily valuable and rewarding.

The fun and interactive exhibit experience of DROPS and CUMULUS would not have been possible without the collaboration of my Industrial Design Junior Studio, Master Interior Architecture Studio, and Tonalea K-8.

Special thanks to: 

Scottsdale Public Art / ASU Design School Fabrication Shop Guys / Sahas Chitlange / John Patterson 

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