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Melting Distance

Interactive Installation | Physical, Arduino

Role: Engineer, Designer

2021 | 3-Week Project | 2 People Team

Even though we are separated by invisible barrier at this special time, the desire to build the connection between us is unquenchable. One day, the iceberg melt, the bridge built, and we are connected again.

My Role
Designer, Engineer

Interactive Installation

Arduino, Blender, Rhino


In the context of the pandemic, because of the need for social distancing, many places setup a transparent divider between people. Although our sense of sight and hearing is not affected, the most important physical connection and interaction between people is separated. In this project, we try to convey that even though we are separated, the desire for us to build our connection with beloved is unquenchable.


At the beginning, the idea is to design a dividing board in between two people, which people can interact on two sides. And visually they are connected, but physically separated by the board. And we came to the idea of having a transparent box and having some visual effect in the box to indicate the connection.

Dividing boards

Then, we decided to use ferrofluid to indicate the invisible connection between two. And designed the installation in the shape of iceberg as the metaphor of the interaction is freeze during pandemic.

When two people on the two sides of the installation use the magnets to connect the ferrofluid between them, icebergs will be illuminated. When they interact with each other in different ways, there will be different lighting effects. The purpose of this project is to rethink the way people interact with each other and to encourage an alternative and safe way to deepen that connection.

Interaction Design

Core loop:

Apporach to the installation

Different light effect

Take different action

Finding the meanings behind each light effect
Make the bridge between fingers by the ferrofluid

User Journey:

first person close to the installation: blue breath light

second person comes: blue breath light

When their hands at the same position: orange light effect

At different position: flowing blue light effect
flowing to the direction ofanother person’s hand

Building & Iteration

Physical Computing


Olivia Yin ︎ ︎  ︎  ︎ ︎ ︎︎