Before arriving at our final outcome, we considered various design iterations all centered around the idea of circling a physical space to view a diverse collection of memories. Our biggest issue was narrowing down the scope of our project and finding a focused subject. Memorializing a location’s history was one of the first options our group explored. We looked at the lost histories of abandoned buildings, as well as cultures which might have been lost due to natural disasters. But, these topics proved challenging to pinpoint specific locations for. Instead we turned our attention inwards towards CMU and how its digital legacy might evolve over time, first focusing on the physical evolution before taking a personalized approach centered on the individual college experience.
In terms of the physical layout of the memorial, we played around with different design elements such as an elevated platform, which unfortunately introduced accessibility issues, as well as speakers, which could provide a multimedia experience. The initial plan was to use benches as checkpoints triggering audio recordings of memories. However, benches proved to hinder the physical flow of the experience as visitors would have to continually alternate between walking and sitting. We considered having light sensors on the floor serve as checkpoints, but from a technical standpoint it would have been difficult to execute due to lighting inconsistencies in the space. In the end, we used distance sensors as they allowed for both detecting the user’s presence and smoothly transitioning between each stage.
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