“Photogenic LA ”

IoT, Physical computing
Team project with Stella Huang


Los Angeles has strong photo generating culture that both locals and visitors love to capture and post their glamorous moments around the city. Among the favorite spots are museums and commercial neighborhoods where there are works whose original values and intentions are not for social media posts. Hence, we want to reveal background stories and true values of places through actions of our installation in ridiculous and funny enough ways to ask for people’s attention and introspection of their intention of taking photos.


ESP32, LED light, Button, Servo, 3D-printed enclosure, Laser-cut gears
ESP32, Paper board, Button, Servo, Needle, Balloon


My code can be found on my Github Page here


Design Brief

Maxim Safioulline & Elise Co
Using the context of Los Angeles, design and prototype a small device that would influence people and conditions in this area in an interesting way. Create an entire working project inside an enclosure of your own design, with no external wires. This means that it must have it’s own battery, communicate with the world wirelessly, and all sensors and actuators must be mounted to the device. In other words, you should be able to pick up the device in your hand while it works. Use this prototype as a way to understand the challenges of designing technological systems for different contexts, in particular designing for contexts other than your everyday.





We imagine our installation to put into places around LA where the true value of the space is wrongly replaced by photographic value. To better illustrate our idea and put Police and Shouter into real context, our team decided to use an orange glass door in Artcenter’s South Campus as an assumed popular, photogenic spot in Pasadena.

Popular Hashtags

Our team researched on popular instagram hashtags on formulated the following for our Orange Door: object-description related:
#orangedoor #orange #door #artcenterdoor
Location related:
#artcenter #accd #accdlife #california #cali #californialife #losangeles #calidreaming #lalaland #laliving  #artcenterlife #pasadena #pasadenalife
Time related:
#weekend #orangechristmas #sundayafternoon
Other topics:
#design #art #life #ootd #fashionblogger #fashion #blogger #streetfashion #streetphotography #streetfashion #portrait #selfie #friends

Background Story

We also composed a fake story for Orange Door:
The Orange Door is a popular, photogenic wall in ArtCenter’s South Campus in Pasadena, California. It is a instagram destination for anyone who tours Pasadena. As more and more students and visitors come to visit this spot, the department needs to clean the door more often as there are more and more scratches and dirt on the glass door. Also, the school has to spend more  every year to maintain its perfect external Orange finish. The school needs to hire additional security to monitor the traffic and photo takers’ behaviors to ensure the smooth running of school work. However, the Orange door was designed by the school to provide welcoming entrance experience for its students and faculties. The orange was carefully chosen to reflect ArtCenter’s orange and ensure the best experience for people enter the space.


Final Output

The Police and The Shouter:



Though we did not realize our initial plan with audio output, the limitations led us surprising and fun discovery of using visual representations of our original thought. This change actually sparkles many new ideas and we found this process valuable. The visual representations actually in a better satisfies our initial intention of giving people ridiculous and funny experience when they finish their experience.

If we have more time, we will :
  1. Design better mechanical structures for police for more smooth rotation and more possible poses.
  2. Design ways to automatically replace balloons for long-term operation of the installation and make it more convenient for people to apply our installation to different spaces.