It's rare to meet someone who loves elevators. They are a great convenience, but they are also often slow, cramped and stuffy.

essentially, elevators are not fun.

We thought we could make the elevator experience better. That's where PARTYVATOR comes in!

Partyvator is a pop-up music & light experience that takes place between floors. It's a simple and unexpected way to make the elevator experience better. It's awesome because it isn't an experience that you would expect in an elevator. In fact, while the elevator is stopped at a floor, it looks like any other elevator. And between floors, a mix of music and light provides a moment of fun in an otherwise banal experience.

Unfortunately the building management at NYU wasn't able to give us permission to install Partyvator permanently. After the playtest, we knew that the experience resonated with riders, but we needed to install better lighting & work on the automation. After re-evaluating the experience, we reformatted Partyvator to be pop-up, that is easily installed and removed. Now we have the framework and experience to provide a fun elevator experience on demand!

For the Physical Computing midterm, we used processing to handle the music & movement logic and two Arduino boards (one to control the lights, the other for accelerometer readings). In practice, this system operated solidly.

Challenges Creating this Experience

  • Designing an interaction for a specific location
  • Building smooth color transitions with LED strips is no party
  • Complex math (simplex noise) makes Arduino sad :( We ran out of memory
  • Powering high current LED strips on battery


  • Visibly happier elevator riders
  • ‘This brightens my day after 3 hours of sound editing’
  • ‘It’s a party elevator’ ‘i like this’ ‘i expected [dance music]’
  • Redesigned to be mobile & quickly installed/uninstalled

Next Steps

  • Explore the feasibility of Phillips Hue instead of LED strips

  • Get script working for whole strip & power lights fully

  • Develop sequences for different times of day / music

  • Arduino only system (eliminate computer)

  • Incorporate data from elevator movement to sculpture outside of elevator

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