Interactive Benches is an initiative to improve interaction between people in unused places like squares and parks. By using light, our benches invite people to sit side-by-side an therefore start social interaction between them.
Together with Jacob Sikker Remin and Sarasiff Kjærgård we implemented three scenarios. In the first, two people sit on one bench and we try to make them sit closer to each other. In the second, we have two people sitting on two different benches and we try to make them sit together on one bench. In the third, we implemented a light show that starts when all places on a bench are taken.
Schema of the interaction between the benches and the people:
How does it work? We embedded capacitive sensors inside the benches and then used Arduino boards to control the lights. When a person sits on a bench this bench detects it and turns on the light underneath this person. Because the benches can communicate between them, we can detect if there are two people sitting on different benches and therefore light up one of the benches to invite the person from the other one, to come and sit together.
Photo of Nørrebrohallen in Copenhagen, the place that inspired us for this project