The Challenge

The goal of the project was to design an interactive device to enhance the motivation of everyone to use the stair at the National Taiwan University D-school (Design Innovation School). We hoped the usual free space in the stairwell has more display and application while accelerating communication between floors, improving the vitality and cohesion of the school.

The Outcome

We used motors (controlled by Arduino), marbles, and bars on xylophones installed on the wood board to develop three interactive music boxes for installation on the stair handrail. When people pass through the music boxes, the device would shoot marbles to hit the xylophone bars and then create the melody. We also used various materials and toy tricks to decorate the music boxes in order to add color and interest to the stairwell.


Sep 2016  - Jan 2017


Interaction Designer
Device Developer


You-Hao Liou
Zi-Mei Yang
Jia-En Li
Hsiao-Chi Hsu

Field Survey

In order to understand the behavior of Dschool users in the field, we interviewed three staff members and students, analyzed the elements currently lacking in the field, and found out the design goals. We found that Dschool is located on the 4th and 5th floors of the building, but most of the staff and students rarely use the stairs. The main problems are that the room of space is small, oppressive, and too laborious.

Design Insights

Prototype Testing

Paper Prototype with LEGO

We first used LEGO to make and control the marble launcher, combined it with xylophone and installed them on the paper board.

Optimize Device Design

We use Arduino to control the motor to drive the launcher to shoot marbles. We also arrange the marble path to hit xylophone bars to generate the melody we designed. In addition, we add different colored plastic pieces to increase the color of the appearance.s

Final Design

Photosensitive Launcher

The size of Arduino was reduced to be placed in a wooden box as a marble launcher. The Arduino had an external photosensitive module. When a pedestrian passes by, it will drive the motor to rotate and launch marbles.

Diverse Childlike Design

We design three types of D-Dears. In addition to different appearances, the melodies generated by the marbles are different, including jumping sounds, scales, random monophony, and childish trick such as windmills are added to increase the fun of the devices.

Installation in Field