Carolina Pino‘s Shellhouse, a Collapsible Cardboard Shelters Using Radio Devices for Homeless Persons, comments on the promise of an intelligent future that leaves aside a big percentage of the population, those who have little or no access to technology.


The homeless not only have no access to ubicomp amenities but they also lack an address, that societal way to validate our existence in the physical space.

Carolina’s cardboard structures are easy to assemble, made of recyclable material, and they can collapse when the police wants them removed. The shelter provides an address to a defined group of unsheltered homeless persons, by means of radio devices, proposing a way to integrate them to society.

0transmittte9.jpg“The radios are meant to transmit to a hand held receiver, explained me Carolina. “3 shelters are built with one radio device on it. For now, as 1st step, the project was tested on a church, homeless used a SHELLHOUSE and the receiver was held by a priest. When they came down the roof of the church to sleep, their radios on the shelter were transmitting their name, age and place of origin to the receiver. data previously recorded by them.”

“The idea of using radios (xbee modules) is because GPS are still expensive, cell phones depend on companies and i needed the cheapest device i could find, since all the project is done as open source for people to download it and be able to build it at home to mail it to the church.

“In the future, technology allowing, and with people’s commitment, the project can be spread to the street to find new interfaces, this is no priest with hand held receiver, but people in the street with their cell phones, or maps on the internet.”

Carolina chose the St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York to test her system.

Three homeless persons were chosen randomly, they recorded their data (name, age, place of origin) as mp3. 3 shelters with transmitter were given to them with the meal in the morning.

Directions of how build the shelter and the transmitter.

Video of Carolina’s thesis presentation. Today’s the last day to check the project out at the itp spring show in New York.