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An interactive coin jar saving for a good cause

Zoe RomanoJune 25th, 2014


At the end of May, Massimo Banzi and Giorgio Olivero (Todo) spent some days at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design to teach a class called Connected Objects. The class goal was to envision, design and implement interactive objects that are open and connected, whose design and behaviour can be used to sense, read and affect the domestic landscape or other shared environments.

One of the team of students (Arun Mota, Hsiang-Lin Yang, Yashodeep Gholap) worked on Arduino Yún to create an energy redistribution service that allows people to save money and in parallel donate towards energy distribution projects in deprived areas of the world:

LightUp is an interactive fundraising coin jar that firstly encourages personal savings and then also allows people to contribute a part of their savings towards the cause. The system allows them to track in real-time exactly how many units of electricity they helped generate. Another visible reward is the jar lights up for 10 minutes each time they drop a coin.

To avail the service of LightUp, a user merely needs to register through an online platform. Every registered user is then provided with a physical jar to make savings on periodical basis. Users can save coins in these jars. Every time a coin is dropped in it, as a response the jar lights up for 10 minutes.

The drop of a coin each time also triggers a parallel transaction where a certain sum of money is transferred from the user’s account to LightUp’s Account. While registering, LightUp will also create a personal PayPal account for its users. This PayPal account is linked to the merchant PayPal account of LightUp. The user gets to decide the unit of money that can be debited each time while registering.

Every time users put coins in the LightUp jar, they will also receive immediate feedbacks such as SMS, email or facebook notification as per user’s preferences. These feedbacks will inform users on how their donation is being used for specific social projects and how they have helped make a real difference.