Shellhouse-[living portable] is a project of the Chilean artist Carolina Pino in which I was pleased to participate in 2009. Carolina started this project back in 2005 in New York as her thesis at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, optimizing the design of cardboard shelters used by homeless people.

Each shelter has a circuit board based on the RF module Xbee through which it communicates with a central node (PC + arduino) that interprets the messages sent. Through these messages the occupants of shelters can call for aid (eg. health, food).

During the months of June and July 2009 an installation with 15 shelters was held at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Quinta Normal in Santiago de Chile. In this exhibition the central node received messages from shelters and the status of each shelter could be visualized on a monitor.

Subsequently an aditional module was developed using processing and php which, besides showing the state of the shelters on a monitor, it published that information on the internet significantly expanding the possibilities of communication.