How could we make an interactive display case into an engaging emotional experience? How could we use dynamic behavior and lighting to bring it to life? And how could we endow it with personality and character?

Mesolite is an emotive display case commissioned by adidas, and designed to showcase a concept shoe. It is named after Mesolite crystals, which it closely resembles in its appearance. The project explores how facial tracking technology can be used to promote social interaction and engage the viewer by – seemingly – coming alive and developing a character of its own.

Mesolite has an ‘eye’, a facial tracking camera that can detect your presence and recognize your facial expression. As you approach, Mesolite comes out of ‘dream mode’ and welcomes you with a ripple of red light across its surface. The shoe on display also comes alive and swivels round to face you. In this way Mesolite attempts to grab your attention. If there are several of you in front of Mesolite, the ‘eye’ detects all of your faces. The shoe then swivels around to look at each of you in turn, as though trying to grab the attention of one of you. Once Mesolite has your attention, you have to get closer in order to keep it. If not, the shoe will start swiveling around in an attempt to grab the attention of someone else. The more you engage with it, the more Mesolite comes alive. When you express surprise, the red lighting starts to ripple with deep breath-like rhythms. When you smile and express happiness, Mesolite will share that happiness by making the shoe spin around rapidly and the red lights flash as though it is also excited and happy!

What Mesolite highlights is the potential for smart technologies to bring an object to life, and give it lifelike properties, so as to engage the viewer. But – more than this – it also reveals their potential to seemingly endow an object with personality and character, so as to foster an emotional bond with human beings.
Acknowledgments & Credits:

Designer: Behnaz Farahi
Mechanical Assistance: Paolo Salvagione
Software: Julian Ceipek,Mitch Mastroni
Design Assistant: Sarah Hammond
Fabrication: Behnaz Farahi, Sarah Hammond, Ryan Chavez, Kayla Paredes, HeeJe Yang
Structural: Riccardo La Magna , Simon Schleicher
Cinematographer: Elena Kulikova 
Point cloud: Takahashi Uchida
Performer: David Jermaine Carter
Music: Mo H. Zareei
Grip: Ryan Chavez, Sarah Hammond

Mesolite is an emotive display case commissioned by adidas, and designed to showcase a concept shoe.