LightByte

Sheng-Ying (Aithne) Pao

As urban spaces become more densely populated with digital artifacts, there is an increasing desire for new ways to reconnect with nature. Sunlight is one of the most fundamental elements in nature that we have free access to in urban environments. It is also at the core of how we experience the physical world. What if we could engage sunshine in the digital age, to tame, modify, and bend light to our will?

LightByte, a massive interactive sun pixel façade, modifies the sun’s rays at your whim into intricate shapes. It turns sunlight into an expressive medium to carry information, communicate ideas and to shape your own shadows (see interactions).

Hundreds of individually controlled servo flaps which act like “sun pixels” allow LightByte to let in or block sunlight to varying degrees. Hidden from the viewer are computing algorithms and kinetic mechanisms to animate light through these sun pixels. Wood is deliberately chosen to form the light-tuning facade. The wood, from its texture to the sound it produces, recalls patterns on the forest floor as interplay of shadow and light.

Encompassing the digital and the natural, LightByte attempts to encourage a dialog between the two in the urban jungle.


FlickInk

Sheng-Ying (Aithne) Pao

Videoconference is largely used in remote communication. However, working within the digital world has increasingly segregated physical interfaces in their own analog world. Screen-based interfaces have led to a barrier in using pen, paper, and physical. The Augmented-Reality Pen bridges the gap between digital and physical as well as geographical boundaries. With a quick “flick” of the pen, analog content on paper is instantly transferred to the remote location, appearing on the surface of the target object. It provides a effortless and playful way to engage participants and support remote collaboration.


MoveInk

Sheng-Ying (Aithne) Pao

MoveInk acts simultaneously in physical and virtual realms, transforming a pen into a gestural wand that converts a user’s static drawing on paper to an animated digital creation.

 

RoboWall. Hasier Larrea, Carlos Olabarri. 2011-2012

The RoboWall is the key robotic module of the CityHome 800 sq. ft. apartment, providing flexibility to the space by moving and transforming, serving as the technology that enables home reconfiguration. It is a wall that not only moves but also is functional and smart. The completely modular design allows the infill of the wall to be customized to address each person’s specific needs. Mainly intended for newly constructed buildings, the RoboWall can also be used to retrofit old apartments: its integrated system locates all the complexity on the wall. There are no physical rails or need for extra electrical installation. Plus, the pressure sensors create a seamless interface to operate the wall in a more natural way, also improving safety.

The RoboWall prototype. Hasier Larrea, Carlos Olabarri

The RoboWall prototype. Hasier Larrea, Carlos Olabarri

Place Lab. Jason Nawyn, Selene Mota. 2004-2008

The PlaceLab was developed as an apartment-scale shared research facility where new technologies and design concepts could be tested and evaluated in the context of everyday living.  It is recognized as one of the very first instrumented “living laboratories,” and is considered one of the most highly instrumented living environments ever built.  The 1000-square-foot space integrated hundreds of sensors, allowing researchers to study nearly every aspect of life in the home.  PlaceLab experiments included a focus on proactive health, user interface, indoor air quality, energy conservation, diet, disease management, and accident prevention. 

The PlaceLab: a highly instrumented living laboratory to study the interaction of people and prototypical systems 

The PlaceLab: a highly instrumented living laboratory to study the interaction of people and prototypical systems