Creative Technologist • Interactive Designer
Guanhao is a creative technologist‭, ‬interactive‭, ‬and graphic designer‭, ‬focusing on digital experiences‭, ‬tangible media‭, ‬and human-environmental interactions‭.‬ He is actively engaged in research-driven projects that leverage Machine Learning to develop interactive installations and communication designs.
Thesis Faculty
Ever BusseyKellee MasseyHarpreet SareenAndrew Zornoza

Wrapping Shadows: In the Absence of Sunlight

A colossal and unending block of shadows is an integral part of the urban Landscape in New York City. Walking beneath the skyscrapers, we traverse the absence of light.

This project employs a psychogeographic perspective to map the relationships among shadows, sunlight, plants, humans, and non-human inhabitants of the city. I utilize machine learning models for shadow detection and a head-mounted camera to capture and physicalize the shape of darkness—the space where we all can equally immerse ourselves.

Machine Learning Model
In this project, I used scotch-and-soda, a pytorch lightning version of video shadow detection developed by Lihao Liu. With the framework, you can train and test your own models. Then, I took Fiji and 3D Slicer to convert 2D shadow images to 3D models.

With the first method, the projection of the model is not as correct as we’ve seen in the real world. The model is too complex to fabricate in CNC or 3D printing, and it’s not precise for any analytic methods to do visualization. In this case, I used another way like slit-scan to export the image sequence, this helps to print a more accurate mesh of shadows.

The second approach provides more precise shadows, as seen in real space. It can also be extruded into a three-dimensional model. In the side view of the model, we can observe the width of the shadow, allowing for analysis and visualization.

Project – Touch the Top

Shadow Chaser 
The super-tall buildings in the city create an iconic skyline and cast immense shadows in our daily lives. Since The Equitable Building was established in 1915, this gigantic structure has influenced NYC’s zoning law, once known as the 1916 Zoning Resolution. This policy deeply influenced the design of skyscrapers, leading to a series of setbacks that gave rise to many wedding cake architectures until 1961.

Following these tallest giants in NYC, we are able to experience them from a different point of view with shadows, and see the permanent and ephemeral influence created by steel, bricks, and sweat. Their shadows linger with us for many years, even as the policy has been renovated. The desire to race to the sky has left us with indelible patterns. I may not be able to reach the top of these buildings, but I can chase and document them while they cast their shadows on the pavements. My friends refer to this pursuit as Shadow Chaser. I start planning a map to chase the tallest buildings’ vantage points.

Equitable Building (Manhattan)
Warren St./North End Ave.
March 14, 2024/11:30 AM
Empire State Building
W 35 St./Broadway
March 19, 2024/11:04 AM