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Lights will guide you home

Lights will guide you home

I made this game as a part of my Computer as an Expressive Medium Course at Georgia Tech. The prompt was to create a tangible interactive narrative. My partner, Shamim Shoomali, and I decided to use this medium to come up with a representation of who we are. Shamim is from Iran and I am from India. In our first few conversations, we came to realize that there are a lot of similarities in our culture. 

Fun fact, words related to love and light are the same in Persian and Hindi! 

In this conquest, we celebrated our similarities and differences. This case study is a reflection of Indian Shamim (me) and Persian Jasmine (Shamim) :D


In a world where distance stretches wide,
Two souls embarked on a heartfelt ride.
Across the globe, far from their kin,
A project began, a tale to spin.

Jasmine and Shamim, partners in art,
Bridging the gap, miles apart.
Their loved ones, a mosaic so divine,
In every touch, their stories entwine.

The doorbell rings, a signal clear,
A journey through love is about to appear.
Lights aglow, a pathway designed,
To bring the distant hearts in line.

Shamim's cat, with fur so soft,
A touch, a pet, and the lights take off.
Her mom sips tea, channels unfold,
A scene of warmth, a memory to hold.

Her brother raising the cat Mr. Rezaie in the air,
A moment captured, beyond compare.
In the house of Shamim, a haven found,
Love and laughter, a perpetual sound.

Jasmine's home, a bustling place,
Chargers plugged in, a life's embrace.
Dad rides a cycle through the room,
A vibrant chaos, like a flower in bloom.

Grandparents watching videos loud,
Her sister spying on her laptop when she’s not allowed.
Jasmine, at work or play, hard to define,
With her mom bringing her tea, a life so fine.

Shamim’s partner, a flash of light,
A love story, pure and bright.
Dancing, dining, in each other's sway,
A love that blossoms, day by day.

Guided by light, to a room so bright,
Friends from undergrad, a lively sight.
Energy boundless, laughter unrestrained,
In their company, Jasmine is gained.

Running wild, a friend on the spree,
One throws up while one sleeps anywhere, carefree.
Silly dance moves, calculating costs of a club, a joyous trance,
A bond unbroken, a lifelong dance.

Shamim's friends, a feast they adore,
Pretending hunger, then eating galore.
Competing for bites, a playful feat,
Shamim crawls, still wanting to eat.

In the final room, Jasmine’s school friends convene,
Card tricks, scolding, a vibrant scene.
The magician's hands, cards in place,
An argument echoes a familiar chase.

Masters, consultancy, or sneakers they debate,
In the room of friendship, no need to dictate.
A tale of bonds, through space and time,
A project built on love, a rhythm in rhyme.

So ring the doorbell, let lights guide your way,
Through the rooms of love, where hearts forever stay.
Jasmine and Shamim, a connection so grand,
Their project, a testament, across the distant land.

By ChatGPT, Jasmine and Shamim

We initially decided to design a map, consisting of illustrated symbols of the people we love around the world in different regions and countries. When the user touches each symbol in each place, a voice message of that specific person represented by illustrations would be played.

Critical Lens:

  • We aimed to show that each person is made of the touches of the people who have loved them and cared about them. We wanted to concentrate on the fact that no matter how far we are, we carry the symbol of our loved ones across borders.

  • When a person enters a new geography, the battle of identity starts, and they try hard to recognize themselves. On one hand, they are connected to a land that is no longer a home like it used to be, on the other hand, they need to find roots in a new place. We want to remind every person who is in a similar situation that no matter where they are, there are always people who welcome them and love them.

  • Touching is the very first sensory feeling that every human has. We learned the world around us by touching our mom, the rest of our family, our faces, and our food. Therefore, we aimed to create an experience that starts with touch.

We planned to use the illustrated symbols of our dearest and implement audio (and text messages) next to the symbols. By using thread we would connect the illustrations to create a unique world map based on the places that our friends and family live to gather the pieces of our identity.

Physical Interaction _ Project 3.png

During the next phase of the project, we worked on the ideas further to build our narrative. We explored different possible visualizations and discussed why, and how they made sense (or didn’t!). We spent time doodling and trying out multiple possible Arduino Uno-compatible actuators to explore possibilities.


We concentrated on how to create personalized designs that represent our core memories with our family and friends. By expanding this idea, after exploring the maps, routes, building-based representations, etc, we concluded with our house-based visuals.


Our house has six rooms and an attic. Each of these rooms visually represents an ideal day with our loved ones. Interacting with each of them leads the user to the little girl in the attic, who is a representation of us. Each memory is a part of us and being with all these people makes us who we are - a complete heart.

We prototyped the interaction on breadboards.


During the third phase, we worked on the visuals and aesthetics of our project. We already had our code and technical work in place, so we built on top of that. We had a two-step process. First, we used an outline of a house put on top of a box to visualize where the actuators would be placed and how. This gave us an understanding of the placement, the fact that we needed to be more organized with our wires and codes considering we had a lot of different types of interactions possible. We brainstormed about how to make it cleaner and more aesthetic with our final version. The images below show this phase of our process. Meanwhile, we worked on the detailed drawing, to add life to our project, “Lights will guide you home”.

Physical Interaction _ Project 3.png
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