Computer Science Bachelors Capstone: An interactive installation that explores smart cities and radical transparency.

For my computer science capstone project, I created an IoT installation with the goal of making smart technology tangible and less intimidating to the public, for the Innovation Office at the City of Syracuse, (a small, start-up-like office in City government).

Computer Science Bachelors Capstone: An interactive installation that explores smart cities and radical transparency.

Interactive installation to understand "smart city" technologies through hobby level hardware and open design. This was my Computer Science Bachelors capstone project that I did with the City of Syracuse Accountability Performance and Innovation team.

Read the making of here.

Video of the final product:

Physical Installation tour. 

Video of the openFrameworks app running:

Turn sound on for tones generated at certain distance stages. openFameworks app controlling LEDs via OPC and FadeCandy on Raspberry Pi. 

Video of the NodeJS website receiving the sensor data:

Video of website receiving data. This was a Boostrap website running on a NodeJS server on Heroku, that used SocketIO to receive data. 

Repository link —

IOT website (not receiving data anymore) —

Hardware Illustration Posters –

Project write up - Write up link


Citizen’s knowledge of “smart” things is important; Governments are currently having vendors try to sell them facial recognition software, ways to monetize citizens data, and artificial intelligence solutions. This system itself will not produce a complete understanding of “smart” things by the entire public, but it can provide a jumping off point to explore ideas. First, the project will try to help the understandings of “smart” through the use of radical transparency of the system. Radical transparency is a business philosophy based on total openness. It is similar in some respects to the open source ethos. Second, I have created technology definitions for parts of the system that are defined using the lowest technology literacy rate of a given area to create simple definitions. Though I do not know how to define technology literacy rates I have made sure the definitions use metaphors that relate to devices the reader probably has interacted with. The project relies on two these parts to accomplish the mission because when transparency increases in a [governmental] system it acts as a multiplier on preconceived notions of government to reinforce those held ideas. Researchers at the Utrecht University Netherlands conducted a study(N=658) to test the link of transparency of government and trust. The researchers found that due to preexisting ideas of government that people had the effects of transparency were not prominent in increasing trust. It is possible to change these preconceived notions. In advertising, agencies have been doing it for years. Agencies like like and the AdCouncil participate in advocacy or education related advertising campaigns. At the federal government level there has been the creation of to show what open source projects the federal government has made and is currently sharing.

The final posters:

Arduino poster
Distance sensor poster
FadeCandy poster
NeoPixel poster
Raspberry Pi poster