How Much Is That Plotter In The Window?

We live in a strange time indeed. People who once eschewed direct interactions with fellow humans now crave it, but to limited avail. Almost every cashier at the few stores deigned essential enough to maintain operations are sealed away behind plastic shields, with the implication that the less time one spends lingering, the better. It’s enough to turn an introvert into an extrovert, at least until the barriers are gone.

We get the idea that the need to reach out and touch someone is behind [Niklas Roy]’s “Please Leave a Message”, an interactive art installation he set up in the front window of his Berlin shop. Conveniently located on a downtown street, his shop is perfectly positioned to attract foot traffic, and his display is designed to catch the eye and perhaps crack a smile. The device consists of a large wooden easel holding the guts from an old X-Y pen plotter, an Arduino and an ESP-8266, and a couple of drivers for the plotter’s steppers. Passers-by are encouraged to scan a QR code that accesses a web page served up by the ESP-8266, where they can type in a brief message. The plotter dutifully spells it out on a scroll of paper for all to see, using a very nice font that [Niklas] designed to be both readable and easily plotted. The video below shows it in action with real people; it seems to be a crowd-pleaser.

[Niklas] has been incredibly prolific, and we’ve covered many of his interactive art installations. Just search for his name and you’ll find everything from a pressure-washer dancing waters display to a plus-sized pinball machine.

11 thoughts on “How Much Is That Plotter In The Window?

  1. I wish I lived in an area where something like this would be appreciated for what it is and not filled with political (or worse) statements.

    Very cool way to attract visitors to your shop.

    1. Just what I was thinking, but it does say a “brief” message, so I guess it would be small art, but if you know the character limit you could make an ASCII picture at home and upload the text file to the plotter I suppose.

  2. “Almost every cashier at the few stores deigned essential enough to maintain operations are sealed away behind plastic shields, with the implication that the less time one spends lingering, the better.”

    Gas station in the bad part of town. Please ignore the auto-turrets.

  3. Betcha basically nobody got the reference (and thanks it’s now my earworm). Also, having been an introvert all my life… nope, still not feeling any inclination to seek company; this would actually be perfect if only the circumstances weren’t what they are..

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