Themed Entertainment Engineer

-StoryStudio - Children's Museum of Pittsburgh Client Project-

Project Overview

I worked on an interdisciplinary graduate student team of 6 with a client at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh to create an interactive storytelling toolkit, including prototypes and guides, to be used to create and facilitate events for 50-100 people at a time in MuseumLab at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. My team and I performed R&D into methods for transforming existing books into interactive, immersive event experiences and interactions for large groups including animated figures, Arduino sensors, physical props, and digital animation. 

I was a hardware engineer and experience designer for the team. I tested Arduino sensor audience interactions (RFID, arcade buttons, servo) and fabricated/laser cut durable guest-facing electronics housings. I prepared sound effects and organized a built-in sound library for our digital storytelling tool. I also wrote documentation for stakeholders and potential guest experience journeys.

Concept art by my teammate Randi Ouyang demonstrating what we imagine a future execution of our interactive storytelling events could look like in MuseumLab: a storyteller at the front, digital scenes on a projection screen, physical props and animated figures, Arduino modules, and guests all around the space. 

Arduino Interactions/Modules

Our physical prototypes/Arduino sensor modules were a particularly unique element of our research. A major design consideration for us was that the events needed to host 50-100 people at once. When you have such a big group of people, how do you make sure that every single person still feels involved and still feels engaged? The Arduino modules were our answer. By placing these sensors and physical interactive modules around the room, we helped people feel more directly involved with the story/event. We built 3 Arduino modules: Arcade button, Servo, and RFID. Each had its own robust custom laser cut housing and locks for guest-facing housings. These Arduino modules could directly connect with our digital tool or stand alone. We pre-programmed the modules so the content creator never needs to code, making this a more accessible resource.

This was one of my major focuses for the project. I was responsible for these Arduino modules: prototyping with the sensors, laser cutting the housings, and testing with guests. I also created documentation to explain how these modules were made for future reference and shared my files for laser cutting. I delivered these final kits and resources to the client.

Arcade button module with lock. The arcade button could be used to trigger digital animations

Servo module. The servo could be used to create simple animatronics of characters from the stories

RFID module with lock (my teammate Lori Kipp and I worked together on the design of this module). The RFID chips could be built into physical props so that the RFID could be used to trigger digital animations

The bottom of each laser cut sensor kit even featured the laser engraved logos of MuseumLab and our team StoryStudio!


As much of our project revolved around discovery and R&D, documentation was a major component of our deliverable to our client. We submitted over 250 pages of written documentation as a team to the client, videos, and PowerPoint presentations.

With regard to the written documentation, I primarily focused on the PowerPoint presentations that we presented to clients/peers/faculty, stakeholder personas, Bill of Materials, resources/instructions for fabricating laser cut electronics housings, documentation of the sound effect library, and a guest experience map. I also wrote 2 of the weekly blog posts for our team's website!

Final Presentation

My team presented our work to our clients, peers, and faculty three times in the semester (Quarters, Halves, and Finals at different points in the semester). The following is our final presentation which provides an overview of our project and details about our final deliverables to the client.


Stakeholder Personas

We had several stakeholders to keep in mind during our design process. I created personas for each of our three stakeholders: the content creator, the storyteller, and the audience member.

Bill of Materials (BOM)

I prepared a Bill of Materials for the client that lists all necessary materials to run our event.

Laser Cut Electronics Housings

I prepared written resources/instructions for fabricating laser cut electronics housings for the RFID, arcade buttons, and servo.


Sound Library

I sourced, trimmed, and prepared a collection of useful stock sound effects and organized a built-in sound library for our digital storytelling tool.


Guest Experience Map

I created an experience map for one of our demo stories. This map walks through the different stages of the experience and what we expect the guest to think, see, and do at each point.


Team Blogs

I wrote two of our team's weekly progress blogs and published to our team's website!


Please view our full project website for all information on our project including weekly team blogs:


508-404-3168  |  |  Pittsburgh, PA  |