Making Furniture Interactive

December 16, 2007

Purpose Based Interaction

Filed under: Exercise 6: Motorized Mechanical Movement — mjlevy @ 11:39 pm

pdia.jpg I’ll preface this by saying that what I built is not what I intended to build when I started.  I had discussed in class build a lamp that moved east and west through a room to mimic the movement of the sun.  While the idea of celestial-mimicry still intrigues me, I realized that was it was missing was any kind of real interaction.   What I’ve attempted to do here is wholly based on interaction and the meanings thereof.  I kept thinking about the idea of a lamp, and one of the original problems I had had with my earlier plans: how to turn it on and off.  The idea of turning something on and off kept me thinking for a while.  What is at the essence of on-ness and off-ness for our objects?  When it comes to a lamp, the usual interaction for light (the up/down switch) is actually a rather good interpretation of the on/off state in terms of light creation.  Up is the sky, where the light comes from; down is the ground, where it doesn’t.  Desk lamps, however, are far worse off in terms of their interactions, with everything from rotary switches to double pull double throw switches.  What I wanted to do was to build in some kind of interaction that better represents on-ness and off-ness for a lamp.    As you can see, when the lamp is upright, facing the sky, it is illuminated; when it is down, on the ground, it is not.  It’s very simple, but it gets closer to the mental model of on/off that we actually have, shortening the mental distance between understanding and interaction.  onoff.jpg


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