Cat Walk


Four legged, middle-aged, dark haired, male.


Being too short to have a good perspective of a room, he is always in search of a perch, and because the canine housemate steals his food if his bowl is near the floor, he has to jump up and down from the top of a shelf that is too high for comfort.

Design Idea:

Upholster the the top of a shelf at a comfortable height for the little man to hang out and walk around on that will also serve as some storage space for the two-legged inhabitants, allow him to get to his feeding spot more easily, and give him a climbing option in the house.

Supplies Used:

Used almost entirely leftover bits and pieces from previous projects and things I already had sitting arround:

  • 2 Ikea Trones storage bins
  • Pine boards: 1″x 8″ and 2″x 2″
  • An old cardboard mailing tube
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Decorative upholstery tacks (this is the one thing I had to buy)
  • Miscellaneous assortment of screws and brackets

Lessons Learned

Spray adhesive doesn’t really stick to memory foam.

Memory foam isn’t great for upholstery foam because it is more difficult to make it even and smooth when covering it with fabric under tension.

Regardless, kitteh approves!


Click Here to see Instructable!


hoLEDay tree

Positioning:  Interactive wall art provides users with the option to continually personalize their art through changing color modes and other elements with LED lights

Mission:  Change the way people think about their walls by providing the opportunity to continually customize a piece of art to fit moods and special occasions.

Vision:  Be beautiful and delightful

Target Audience:  All ages.  People who enjoy the mixed medium of hard and soft, art and technology

Printed a copy of a tree design I created in Illustrator to use as a pattern to bend the wire


-Use on of my tree sketches to create a holiday tree that is safe for kids to decorate with lights

-Enhance the experience by eliminating the frustration and danger of traditional light strings

-Add joy to a room with the finished product




After getting the first few wires shaped I ran testing the first part of the circuit with an external power source and an RGB cycling LED.

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Had to learn how to do some basic soldering for this project to make the wire connections to complete the circuit.


Assembly processes.  In order to have a minimalist design, I ran wires in front and behind with a gap in the circuit that will be bridged by each LED.  Gluing small high power magnets to the back make a nice attachment for the lights.



Interactive Bulletin Board


trigger a reaction of curiosity by adding movement to a traditionally static object in a public place.

Design Idea and Objective:

Increase attention people pay to a bulletin board in the ATLAS lobby by making some of the posters and flyers move.

Initial Design Sketch:




After considering the technology available, and going through an initial design critique, I decided that it was more feasible to add a proximity sensor, 2 servo motors, and an RGB LED to a smaller bulletin board that would allow for installing the tech components behind the board instead of trying to hide them behind posters on an existing board mounted to the wall in the lobby.

Building Process:


  • small bulletin board I found discarded near a dumpster
  • Infrared Proximity Sensor Long Range – (Sharp GP2Y0A02YK0F)
  • Infrared Sensor Jumper Wire – 3-Pin JST
  • 2 Servo Motors
  • LED – 10mm Cycling RGB
  • SparkFun RedBoard – Programmed with Arduino
  • Bread board
  • Extra wires and alligator clips
  • Zebra print duct tape (because that’s what my boyfriend handed me when I asked him to grab me some tape!)
  • A piece of 2×2 pine board I had laying arround
  • Handful of ATLAS flyers and informational cards
  • 3 Thumbtacks


Final Design:

Used flyers and material from a table in the middle of the main stairway in ATLAS presented in a different format and adding motion elements to create curiosity and delight.

In addition to the two servo motors used to move pieces of the deconstructed flyers, I installed the color changing LED in the upper right section by drilling a hole and gluing a clear thumbtack over the hole so the light could illuminate and add an interesting color element.  I included this to create interest and draw people in close enough to trigger the prox sensor.


I chose to install and test the board over the table that contained the material I used to decorate the bulletin board for context and to give people the opportunity to pick up and read the material more closely if they wished.


Testing and Implementation:

Board installed above table:

Quick test of the proximity sensor to show the motion function.

Testing from melinda plett on Vimeo.

Final edited video of people interacting with the board.


People were surprised by and enjoyed the interaction when they noticed.  Unfortunately, most people just walked past without even noticing even if they did trigger the prox sensor.  However, ATLAS staff particularly enjoyed the installation as it did created some increased interest in the information table.

Improvement Ideas:

  • Adding more lights, that perhaps flash, to grab attention more effectively.
  • Create a series of boards and install them near each other to create interest.
  • Maybe add some elements that a user can interact with and control like some buttons.