Previous prototypes entered in the Pitch Your Prototype challenge have included an inexpensive medical device, educational kits and even an agricultural robot that plucks individual weeds out of the ground. A new entry, Bloomiere, takes the contest in another direction with a conceptual prototype that bridges elements of lighting design, city planning and art.

PitchYourPrototype_125x125_v1The prototype, called Bloomiere, responds to people who walk beneath it:  during the day, it opens up to provide shade, but at night, it provides gentle illumination in a spectrum of colors. Inventors Angela Ng and Yan Deng imagine gardens cafes featuring clusters of Bloomiere units that shift the dynamics of a space to add a “layer of meaning and environmental information.”

“Bloomiere explores this potential for improvement by challenging the concept of the ceiling,” Ng and Deng wrote. “It combines both aesthetics and functionality through its mechanical and technological processes of blooming and illuminating.”

A video featuring the Bloomiere shows it casting a gentle, flickering glow in pastel colors onto the walls and interior surfaces of an office with large glass windows.

Ng and Deng built their Bloomier prototype from laser-cut wooden segments that link together to form the hollow, plant-like arms that provide shade or illumination. Automation and lighting are handled by an Arduino board.

“Bloomiere has the potential to be mass produced in order to form larger clusters in existing or new buildings or spaces,” Ng and Deng wrote. “Bloomiere can be installed in environments with high solar exposure to offer shade. Bloomiere can also give sterile office and studio spaces a new character and identity that is presently lacking, while acting as a catalyst for social interaction.”

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There’s now less than a month left to submit your own project to the Pitch Your Prototype challenge, a collaboration between Make: magazine and Cornell University with the goal of digging up promising prototypes from the Maker community. The individual or team that wins the challenge will be awarded $5,000 and have the opportunity appear onstage at MakerCon New York.

Visit this page to view the full contest rules to Pitch Your Prototype, vote for your favorite project or submit your own.

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