During the memorial service honoring UT student Haruka Weiser a year after she was killed on campus while walking to her dorm, the steps of the Tower were scattered with several origami-like lanterns.
The Nobo lantern, named for Weiser’s younger brother, does more than commemorate the loss of a beloved student. As UT architecture student and designer Natalie Boverman explains, Nobo lanterns are made to help get students walking at night home safely. Boverman, along with fellow students Samantha Shiminski and Kimberly Gabosch, designed the lanterns as part of a class project.
The designers say the lanterns could hypothetically serve the university’s “Be Safe” initiative, which encourages members of the UT community to “use your creativity” to help make campus safer for those who live and work there. The project proposed the Nobo lanterns be used to “illuminate the space between Goldsmith Hall and West Mall Building as well as provide a light source to students as they travel around UT’s campus at night.”
The lanterns aren’t stationary. They’re made to be carried by students, who could hypothetically check them out from pods using their student IDs, and the lanterns include GPS tracking to monitor their location on campus. Battery powered, the portable lights are also are capable of charging phones on the go.
“Other devices like flashlights only provide light in one direction while the orb-like structure of Nobo allows for light in all directions,” Boverman said of the design. “Students often use their cellphone for light but electronics produce a very harsh glare, which inhibits our eyes from seeing our surroundings.”
You can see pictures of the lanterns in action here.