Interactive Art Physical Tangible Media

Trail of Traits

How might we reveal layers of a city through interactive media?

Trail of Traits seeks to encourage exploration of urban spaces through whimsy and problem-solving with ambient interactive media. This project was specifically designed for exhibition at the 2013 Ars Electronica Festival, held in Linz, Austria.

The project takes shape as a collection of four interactive discovery boxes which lead participants on a trail throughout a given city or event. These boxes sense the presence of those passing by, and chime, in order to capture audience attention. When opened, these boxes illuminate to reveal a riddle, which must be solved to find the next box along the journey. This novel take on a scavenger hunt spans across various cultural landmarks around the installation site. The boxes are coated with patterns which compliment their given location, whilst interior patterns are an additional clue to the next location that is part of the trail. The trail has no beginning or end point – users will simply stumble across one of these boxes and their adventure will commence!

A key aim of this project was to help tourists uncover exciting cultural aspects of a city, while also providing locals with an opportunity to experience their city in new and novel ways.

Collaboration with Alice Brown

Installed within the U19 exhibition @ Ars Electronica Festival
Installed within the Bienenstock project @ Ars Electronica Festival
Installed within the Ars Electronica Centre @ Ars Electronica Festival
Installed within Tabakfabrik Linz @ Ars Electronica Festival

Project Details

Name: Trail of Traits

Year: 2013

Materials: acrylic, rare earth magnets, screws, wire, vinyl adhesive paper, bells

Software: Adobe Illustrator

Hardware: LEDs, PIR motion sensor, hall effect sensor, servo motor, Arduino Uno


First exhibited publicly in the Ars Electronica Festival, the world’s premiere event for public, electronic and interactive art in Linz, Austria, 2013.

Exhibited in the 2014 iteration of SHAPE of Things to Come at QUT, Brisbane, Australia.