As one of the founding members of Turner Broadcasting's first ever Maker group, I was given the opportunity to work on a large-scale installation for employees at CNN center in downtown Atlanta. Partnering with Turner Human Resources and FitNation, the goal was simple: make taking the stairs more fun than taking the escalator.
After experimenting with some proximity sensors and pressure sensors, we ultimately decided on a laser trip-wire circuit for each step due to safety and durability concerns. Using some multiplexors and an Arduino, we sent a message with the triggered step number over serial to a Raspberry Pi, where we mapped each step to a series of piano notes. Once we had this workflow, I was able to create a tiny WebAudio interface to play back the sounds, which was routed back onto the staircase for playback in the space and sent over a live stream for employees to watch.
Here is a quick instagram video of a journey up the stairs:
Employees were very excited to see the steps transformed and to start the week in an unexpectedly fun way. We saw folks dancing up and down steps, taking them two at a time, or stopping to stare very attentively at the sensor/laser boxes. They Instagrammed, Tweeted, and talked about it. Here is some of their love from Twitter: