An interactive voting system that displays a classroom's energy level


Skills:  Prototyping, Arduino, User Testing, Illustrator, Laser Cutting

Type: Personal Project

Time: 2 Weeks (Fall 2015)

Team: James Zhou


How it works

Easy does it


Voting in action

in the classroom

People Voting.gif


Understanding people's energy level puts your interactions with them in perspective. 

What if we could visually exhibit the energy level of an entire class?



many many post its


After some sketching and ideation, the meter's scope was whittled down to the following.

Main Functions:

  • Visually represent the class energy level
  • Two answer format 'Yes' and 'No'
  • Display a prompt
  • Be customizable

Minimum Components:

  • Arduino

Coding Requirements:

  • Keeps track of votes 



playing with the tools available

Initial versions of the meter were built with simple LED indicators. We built the code in interaction, increasing in complexity as we started to understand how the Arduino system works.

After refining the code, the LEDs were replaced with a slider that worked as a potentiometer. The whole system was powered by  a DC motor used with a motor shield to protect the Arduino Uno.


For the exterior of the indicator box, we chose a cheerful theme. The background was inspired by 2D games to easily indicate levels.


User Testing

on our curious yet critical classmates

The prototype voting system was left in the classroom to test with our fellow students.

The main finding?




Push buttons proved to be too fun to play with. We adjusted by:

1. Adding a delay between votes

2. An automatic daily reset


Final thoughts

Overall the project was successful in getting students to participate and be more aware of the class's overall energy level. Classmates voted on a regular basis and the meter demonstrated energy fluctuations that tracked with project deadlines.


when talking to classmates, it was clear that the main motivation for using the meter was to use it as an excuse to walk around and for the satisfaction of pushing down a button - which could be an interesting feeling to target for the next project.


I really like it because I can go vote whenever I’m bored. The button is fun to play around with.
— Sally, Industrial Design Student


If I were to further develop this concept I would:

1. Add an indicator for how many people voted

2. Have a visualization that shows changes over time

3. Keep track of engagement over time