Look, Ask, Try, Learn


One of the priorities for the bioluminescence project is understanding the impact of integrating of this bio-actuator in a community and whether or not the impact on its ecology is positive. For this topic, I specifically looked at public areas that consistently have people going through this space. The areas that were observed are as follows: Tempe Town Lake, James Terrell ASU Skyspace, and a number of canals within the area. Presenting my idea, I would hope to gain insight on the benefits and faults of the project.


When asking questions about the bioluminescence project, I tried to ask to sets of questions that would give insight to in the impact that this bio-actuator may bring. One set of questions was relating to communal participation and the idea of revitalizing the urban environment by creating new paths and lighting these paths along a run or track. Then next set of questions were related to sensing the environment and pollution within a given area or bodies of water.

In regards to urban revitalization, there were some interesting comments that arose:

  • People would be willing to participate in random generated path events, but they would prefer not to be bothered when they are on the way to an important events.
  • In the case of people running or working out, they would like for the lights to keep up to their pace providing enough light.
  • The light from this project would benefit dim lit areas, especially beneficial for late night strolling.
  • Very few brought up the conclusion that it seemed unnecessary or expensive to implement as special events would be recognized without alternate paths attracting a person to the location.

Now in regards to environmental sensing, the following comments arose among people:

  • There was numerous responses that they would rather have that information provided to them before they are in a potentially hazardous location.
  • Some people understood the use but they the sensing was compared to chemical sensors that have been implemented near specific buildings, which have their own alarm systems.
  • In some rare cases, color blindness was brought up as a concern for distinguishing color variations and brightness within this bio-actuation.


To produce an environment for the project, specifically the notion of urban revitalization, I had volunteers help plan a random course for light activating (turning on flashlights to indicate path) and luring people to new locations. With the large variation of ASU Tempe campus, there were numerous varieties of paths that could be taken through each urban exchange. Through my experience of walking through the path, I had several concerns

  • As the path would progress from one “tile” to the next, there would be some space of darkness that arose as a void, which left the person walking in the dark.
  • Depending on how long the “random” path is, there should be variation in speed, brightness, color to indicate whether or not the location is being neared. Some paths could last too long if a person plans to follow to the very end.

Other questions arose, when we included a second person that would travel in a near area:

  • On converging paths, there was no indication of separate paths when splitting up, creating a confusion when individualizing paths.
  • Although this may provide a communal aspects to the urban environment, this test case did not provide enough information for the people in this experiment knew one another.


Through understanding how bioluminescence could be used in urban environment, there are some concepts that should be explored as well as understood for the best implementation of this bio-actuator. I learned that environments play an important role for this project as dimly lit places may benefit from this light, but it would be important to not leave any void spots in between. Also through these experiments, it was preferred by most people to have this project be individualized to their needs, whether that is keeping up with pace or specific color when others on a similar path or to take into considerations of color blindness, there are multiple ways that people would like bioluminescence  to cater to their needs.

Unfortunately, I was unable to receive enough information to use bioluminescence as a sensing for the environment as I the narrative was not strong enough in this moment. But there some other considerations that need to be accounted for in the next experiment.


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