caregiver . designer . engineer

Close Encounter


Close encounter

Interactive Art


Conveying the feeling of starting a new journey through technology and craftsmanship


Project Brief

I was challenged to create a project based on the concept of resfeber. Resfeber being the restless race of the traveler’s heart before a journey begins, when anxiety and anticipation are entangled. To that end, I created an interactive art piece based on the act of cage diving with sharks. The model used visual stimuli and motion-based user input to elicit awe, suspense, and fear in its audience.


Skills Used

- Foam modeling
- 3D printing
- Arduino programming


Initial Thoughts

To begin this project, I contemplated the concept of resfeber and reflected on my personal reasons for feeling resfeber at the beginning of Design Boot Camp (DBC). I realized that my anxiety came from the expectation of having to face my fear of being in the spotlight, as well as my fear of failure. Next, I tried to answer the question “why might people purposely put themselves in situations that make them anxious?” My answer to this, in the context of DBC (and the master’s program it was kicking off), was that I was excited to be in a program that could help me make a career out of something I am so passionate about, design.



I searched my mind, and the internet, to find activities that make people anxious, but that people love to do nonetheless. The activity I landed on was cage diving with sharks. The danger and unpredictability of the activity may make divers nervous, but the amazing sight of swimming just feet away from those beautiful creatures is what drives them to jump in the water.



I designed and created an art piece which showed a near life-sized shark underwater, seen through cage bars. My goals were to elicit excitement in viewers by making something life-like and vibrant, and to elicit suspense or fear by having them interact with the piece without knowing what to expect from it.



To create the shark, I 3D printed a small scale model and then physically divided it into flat shapes. Next, I cut enlarged versions of the flat shapes out of foam. I glued the foam pieces together and painted the structure to form the final shark. I then programmed LED strips to illuminate the shark and its surroundings to give semblance of swaying ocean waters. Finally, I used an ultrasonic distance sensor to trigger a change in the LED strips from blue to red light when a viewer reached their hand past the cage bars.



I was actually kind of scared reaching my hand in there.” -Haein Kim, EDI ‘19

“Your foam work and painting looks amazing, and it looks so alive!” -Joshua Kim, EDI ‘18