Peripheral Lighting Interaction

These designs are developed by MSc students in the 'designing for focused and peripheral interaction' course at the Eindhoven University of Technology, which I am teaching together with guest lecturer Karin Niemantsverdriet.

How can we redesign interaction with connected lighting systems, currently often operated through smartphone applications, such that these interactions become a more fluent part of our everyday routines? How can we design for human-computer interaction to shift between the center and periphery of human attention? These questions inspired the design and exploration of a number of tangible user interfaces for interactive lighting systems.

sLight (designed by Eef Lubbers, Jesse Meijers and Tom van 't Westeinde, November 2014) is a tangible light-interface for quickly accessing smart lighting settings in a living room environment. Every corner of the surface represents one of the settings. All but one can be altered to the preferences of the user. The highest corner is always programmed to have bright white light to easily create a clearer light atmosphere. Each of the sticks represent a lamp in the room. The sticks allow for different ways of interaction: changing all the lights at once by grabbing all the sticks, changing a group by only taking a specific colour of sticks or changing one light by grabbing a specific lamp.

Swivel (designed by Carlijn Valk, Debayan Chakraborty and Wendy Dassen, January 2016) is a wall-mounted controller for the Philips Hue Lighting System. The controller includes five pointers, each representing an individual light or lamp group predefined by the user. The rotational direction of the pointers informs the user about the current light settings in terms of brightness. Brightness is mapped in an increasing clockwise direction starting from zero percent brightness position, straight down. When the user wants to adjust individual lights or lamp groups they can physically rotate the correlated pointer. In addition, the user can use the preset dial (front-most pointer) to activate one of the four available presets, personally predefined by the user.

With Squiddle (designed by Akhil Mahendru, Koen Scheltenaar and Matthijs Willems, November 2014) one can control the lighting ambience in their home environment in an effortless subconscious way. Squiddle is designed to be operable in both the periphery as the center of attention. Squiddle allows people to fiddle (common habit) around with the 'fiddleable' controller attached to the couch. Squiddle senses the amount of pressure that is applied and translates this back to the influence one has on the lighting situation. Gently squeezing (fiddling) will result in minor changes, while actively squeezing will give one more control. Pulling will change the brightness, while rotating will change the colour-temperature.

Coaster (designed by Yudian Jin, Marjolein Schets and Nanna Kristiansen, January 2016) is a interactive coaster that enables easily changing the light settings in a one-bedroom apartment environment. Flipping the coaster and putting a cup on it turns on the lights in the closest vicinity of the coaster. Rotating the coaster helps adjust the brightness, and rotating while pressing helps adjust the color of the lights. While adjusting either brightness or color, the coaster lights up in the selected setting, giving direct feedback to the user. Coaster can be picked up by the user when moving around the room; the setting from the previous light will follow the user to the next light. Flipping the coaster over will turn off all lights connected to the controller.

Related publications:

Bakker, S. and Niemantsverdriet, K. (2016). The Interaction-Attention Continuum: Considering Various Levels of Human Attention in Interaction Design. International Journal of Design 10(2), pp. 1-14. Access online