Totem - an Open, Digital Contract Platform in Physical Space

Totem: from paper prototype, to code and physical interface.


Created with Lui Scheer, Fritjof Nørretranders and Frederik Pedersen for the course IxD II during my bachelor in Digital Design, Totem is an speculative design artifact which:

  • Lets people sign transparent contracts in a local, physical space.
  • Furthers social cohesiveness and resilience through technology.
  • Is almost perfect...


Drawing inspiration from blockchain technology, smart contracts and critical design, Totem aims to become the center of trade, barter and general interaction in the modern village, resulting in a more democratic and resilient society.

Totem ideally reduces the need for leaders, hierarchies, rules - even trust.

In reality, it both examines and mocks such "perfect" technologies, as it has a considerable potential for design bias, back doors and other flaws.

The Totem manifest: statements in red may be ambiguous.

My contribution:

I designed and coded Totem's web interface, played a key role in the mechanical design of the physical cryptex interface and contributed to general ideation and design.

Here's a live DEMO of the web-GUI.

The Totem web GUI.


  • Arduino, Raspberry Pi, RFID chips/sensors
  • Laser-cut plywood
  • A pile of LEGO-wheels

The Totem cryptex interface at work.