My Role

I participated in all process of ideation, prototyping and handcrafting and were mainly responsible for electronic prototyping with Arduino and the photography work.
Team members are Yizhou Liu, Yunbo Xie, Xinyue Zhang


3 Weeks, November 20th-December 12th,2016.
Final project for ID325: Introducion to Human Interface Technology.


Art Installation, Interactive Media, Handicraft


Human-nature relationship seems like a platitude nowadays, no matter in a larger or smaller scope. Neither severe ecological situation like unusual climates and floods nor the warning and proposal from environmentalist could raise people’s awareness of a better treatment to nature. The best example is Donald Trump’s announcement to quit Paris Climate Agreement. Even in our campus, we found many behaviors that disturb nature environment in the forest and grasslands.
Therefore, we envisioned our project to encourage people to think about their relationship with natures.

··· IDEATION ···

What is the most suitable relationship between human and nature?
Nowadays, people are accustomed to invade into nature. The distance between nature and human beings has been decreased to a extremity. Therefore, we hope to remind people that keeping a suitable distance from nature is a necessity for the harmony and beauty of this world.

'Nature's beauty only emerges in a distance'.
In this artwork, we want to create ‘Elves’ flying in the forest to represent the soul of nature. When people get closer, they will be silent. Only in a distance, people could see the beauty and rhythm of nature.


Appearance of Elves: Nature's curves

Our inspirations

We started our visualization of ‘elves in forest' by finding the beautiful and elegant curves in nature. Inspired by the outlines of leaves and insects in nature, we made our attempts to reconstruct these divine curves of leaves and insects in the slices that represent 'evlves'. Therefore, we utilized polymer clay and made some mockups to find the suitable appearance of the slices.

Mockups for slices / Our choice

We selected the mock-up with a leave-like outline as the template for our final design. With surfaces of smooth flow, they could create a feeling of ‘floating’ with an gentle rhythm in the forest.

Build the slices

We conducted several experiments to find out the suitable material to build these slices. We tried cements, 3D printing and copper slices with different thickness. Finally, 5mm copper slices won. The copper’s color, texture and luster are alike the falling leaves so that it is harmonious in nature environment. Also, in consideration of the practical and economical issues, the 5mm copper slides could be the best choice.

3D Modeling of the imaginative effect

After cutting the copper in the shape of ellipse, we utlized hammer and thermic lance to form the shape of every slices.

Burn / Quench / Shape / Polish
Final appearance

How could they be 'active' and 'silent'?

Fish wires are tied to hang these slides. To make them ‘fly’, I utilized Arduino and stepper motors to help them 'wag' in the forest. Also, a human body sensor is connected to detect if there is people approaching. When people stand too close to them, they will stop wagging and 'be silent', once people are gone, they will be active again.
Below is the prototyping process.


Check the coolest final presentation video that I made.

To enable them to 'fly' in the forest, we made a rope disk binding on the tree to hang the slides and contain all electronic things. This process did no damage to trees and nature environment.

Final Work

When you step closer, the 'elves' in the forest will be silent and stop moving. Without people's disturbance, they will be active again.



Yizhou Liu


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