The
Constellation 
Project




BUILD 18 SPONSOR'S CHOICE AWARD & LOCKHEED MARTIN INNOVATION AWARD


"A to-go coffee cup that tells you where to go"

For the Carnegie Mellon University BUILD 18 hackathon, our team brought to life a pop up coffee shop concept in collaboration with Constellation Coffee (Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh). The Constellation Project creates a unique and branded experience for every customer by drawing unique computer generated maps on to-go coffee cups. We took home the Sponsor's Choice Award and a $500 Innovation Award from Lockheed Martin.






CONCEPT

When customers order their pour over coffee, they give their name and answer a few personality questions in our store front app. While they wait, they watch our CNC robot draw a custom design onto their cup. The cup now contains customized directions and a map to a unique location in Pittsburgh, designed to evoke the coffee shop's signature constellation. The customer leaves with a unique artifact to remember their experience by and a place to journey with coffee in hand.

For this concept, we were inspired by the role that Constellation Coffee plays in the community. Constellation is nestled in-between many Pittsburgh neighborhoods, and has an important role as a gathering place to share culture. The coffee cups represent the role of the coffee shop and the barista in the community: they give you the ins and outs of the city. We believe Pittsburgh has much to offer and were hoping to get CMU students off of campus through personalized suggestions of what to explore.


I was responsible for creative direction and the content on the cup itself. The tireless nature of robotics presents an opportunity to produce a large quantity of drawings, which can be generated based on contextual information such as name, weather, date and time, news headlines, photographs, etc. The shape of the coffee cup itself is a unique canvas, and it is a medium that will make it out into the world and be seen by many.




MEET THE TEAM
From left to right below.

Westin Lohne - Human Computer Interaction '17
Role: UI/UX

Chloé Desaulles - Electronic Media Arts & Neuroscience '19
Role: Creative Direction + Graphic Design

Thomas Eliot - Electronic & Computer Engineering '16
Role: Software 

Arun Marsten - Music & Information Systems '16
Role: Software 

Sascha Demetris - Mechanical Engineering '16
Role: Hardware



The Constellation team winning the Lockheed Martin 500$ Innovation Prize



WORK & PROCESS

We repurposed an Eggbot and engineered it to draw to scale on a blank coffee cup (Tom Eliot). Our mechanical engineer (Sascha Demestris) built many custom pieces to facilitate the curved drawing. One of our biggest software challenges was to teach the robot how to write in cursive, both for design and time-saving purposes (the pen lifts up and down when it draws in sans-serif, making the experience last far too long). In the words of our software engineer responsible for the task (Arun Marsten) “it was like teaching a stubborn middle-schooler how to write elegantly.” During this time, I worked hand-in-hand with the UI/UX designer (Westin Lohne) to create an online survey-based experience which assigned a Pittsburgh location to the user, which would then be drawn onto the cup. I was additionally responsible for the creation of all visual assets for the project, as well as branding. Constellation Coffee sponsored us during the event by serving freshly brewed coffee to the users.