Saturday, August 17, 2013

INDN 212: Ideation and Thoughts...

So, for this project, I'm thinking about doing something interactive, something that moves, and something that reacts to people's presence. I really like the idea of having something that is a character, something that you can laugh at, something that moves in a strange and unexpected way.

One of the things that I'm thinking of is using a PIR sensor, which is a Passive Infra-red Sensor, which essentially detects motion at a basic level. In combination with that, I'm thinking of designing something provides variable light at a dinner table, because often I find that the light over a dinner table, especially when it's static, can make a lot of things look rather flat, and it can sometimes ruin the impression of food.

So, as a result of the dinner idea, I thought, what if I did something along the lines of a modern chandelier/dining table lighting, which was both functional, while also having a certain degree of charm and character to it, inspired by natural movement and the materialities I want to use.

Involving the motion and the idea of characters of lights, my first refined ideas are all about getting a perceivable motion, and one that would really change the way the light is actually received by the surroundings. Having a moving set of lights provides a dynamically lit area, which is far more interesting than a flat, non-interactive light scape.

These two ideas involve the lights moving up and down at a slow, almost imperceivable speed, which would give the lights a strange, calm movement rather than a short, jittery one. The second idea looks at having the lights move along a rail, slowly tracking up and down the length of the roof-hanging support.

The idea to combine the lights with a PIR sensor brings this light into the realm of interactivity, allowing those who have a vague understanding of what the light does to intervene in its motion somehow. This interactivity sets the light apart from a light that merely moves along a pre-defined path. The light, rather than moving along any path, reacts in the way that a plant would to a dynamic surrounding. The light, with muscle wire on the inside, would curl up when it detects motion, and also turn on when it detects motion.

As for the design of the light, I want to go for a very simple, basic, beautiful form, one that people don't necessarily perceive as being special. I also have an idea which involves shrouding the PIR sensor so that it doesn't pick up all the motion in the room, but only the motion that is directly beneath it, as if it were only reacting to a person who sat directly beneath that particular light.

All of this would be controlled by a central Arduino processor, as there is really no way I could do all of this without the Arduino. So, that's another thing to learn!

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