Nexum was a great little project I did with Juhi Dhanesha, Patricia Yu, and Sam Zeloof. I built the wooden bases and wrote the server code and embedded network software for the mushrooms. Credit to Patricia for creating the fantastic illustrations and interaction design, Juhi for the transparent mushroom caps, and Sam for wiring up the electronics for all 5 Nexum Lights. Nexum was part of a speculative design course at CMU taught by Sinan Goral.
The basic concept was to create remote, anonymous intimacy by linking random nexum lights within a network. When you squeeze your Nexum, someone else’s will briefly glow. If you see your nexum glow, you know that someone else in the network was reaching out. Networks could be global and made of strangers, or local with friends.