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Light Switches March 16, 2006

Posted by reto wettach in light, physical interaction design.


Prof. M. Rauterberg from the Technical University of Eindhoven has in his lecture “Interaction Design – Buttons” a nice comparison between a problematic light switch panel (right) and one possible solution (left). The problem is that there is no direct mapping between switches and corresponing lamps.


Another solution to this problem has been proposed by Neil Gershenfeld from the MIT Media Lab: he is suggesting the “internet zero“, an internet of objects, for example in the Media House in Barcelona:

“Computers were embedded in lights and switches, giving them each an Internet address so that their relationships could be dynamically programmed rather than fixed by a wiring diagram. Each device contained the data and procedures for its control functions, allowing them to operate as a distributed system without relying on central servers. And physical programming interfaces were provided so that, for example, installing a light and then operating a switch could associate them over the network without requiring commands from another computer to configure them.”

The intersting aspect of this approach is that with a flexible system similar to the ERCO rails, one could take away a switch from a certain location and mount it somewhere else. Or have multiple switche controlling one or various lamps…



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