The Exchange

Made by Jeremy Sonpar, Ivan Wang, Judy H and Eric Wang

This week, we observed the crowd and the lines at the Exchange, a local sandwich and hot food shop. To improve efficiency and reduce confusion, we propose the addition of LED floor guides to separate the lines between the two stations (sandwiches and hot food).

Created: September 5th, 2014

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Problem

Any student who has visited The Exchange at peak hours will tell you: ridiculously good food leads to a ridiculously long line. Extending out of the sandwich shop into the entrance hall of Tepper, this line clutters doorways and halls. In addition, despite two stations for food (sandwiches and hot food), there is generally one line for both. This makes it hard for people in line to gauge when to step up to the (less popular) hot food section, even when everyone in front wants sandwiches.


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Solution

To solve this problem, we propose the installation of LED floor lights to guide customers into two lines. These lights will be added in two sections: two lines in the front, and one line in the rear.

The purpose of these LED footprints are manifold:

1. To guide the first customers into one of two lines. When no customers are in line, the lights will flicker softly green to attract their attention.

2. To indicate to later customers when a food station is open. Pressure sensors in the front LEDs will track the number of customers in the front of each line. The LEDs will then display blue (low traffic) or red (high traffic) to indicate to customers whether or not they should move up.

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Purpose of Technology

We chose to prototype interactive LEDs over other apps, such as ordering stations, in order to minimize distractions and layers of interaction. By using clearly visible LED lights, customers can see where they're going at a glance without interrupting thought or conversation.

The lights are effective even in large crowds. Using visual stimuli as opposed to auditory will allow customers to see when a line is free, instead of straining their ears in the din for the customary yell of "step up for hot food!" Even when the LEDs are blocked, however, they will serve their purpose. In the absence of guides, we observed that customers will simply follow what's in front of them, be it one line or two. Just setting up the two lines is enough for future customers to follow suit through social cues.

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About

This week, we observed the crowd and the lines at the Exchange, a local sandwich and hot food shop. To improve efficiency and reduce confusion, we propose the addition of LED floor guides to separate the lines between the two stations (sandwiches and hot food).