Exploring the design space of tangible interaction for adaptive lighting

The development of smart technologies that promise to intelligently transform all walks of life, has a significant challenge to overcome, to be adopted by a critical mass: simplifying interaction with users. The issue is of particular salience when it comes to smart lighting. Traditionally, the primary control of lighting is a single switch. That paradigm breaks when functionality is complex and lighting is adaptive. Tangible interaction –the control of computing devices with tangible objects- is a potential solution to the aforementioned challenge.

With this project we want to explore and evaluate the design space of tangible interaction for adaptive lighting. We will design and develop several tangible artifacts –printed in 3D- that will control –through sensors- an intelligent lighting system. First, we expect these explorations to raise awareness and train young industrial designers into a new era of interaction and eventually produce novel interactions that exemplify their role as designers in the era of “smart tech” and Internet of Things. Second, we will perform in-situ user evaluations to better understand the potential and challenges of this type of interaction. Ambianti B.V.1 provides a product –Ambianti Tiles (figure 1)- to enable those explorations to come to fruition. More specifically we will focus on the HORECA sector. Lighting is of particular importance in this sector for both functional and experiential reasons. The explorations will take place in the restaurant section of TAC (Temporary Art Center) of Eindhoven –as a form of a LivingLab- in which Ambianti is a permanent resident. 

Smart Society

We promote the use of tangible interaction, a novel interaction paradigm that has the potential of being an intuitive solution to “smart” technology that is becoming increasingly ubiquitous and hidden from users. These designs will give users more control in customizing their own lighting ambiance and in that way improve the quality of the restaurant experience. 

Creative Futures

We co-create new interaction artifacts to control adaptive lighting systems. Co-designing with end-users is a core method we employ. Further, we plan the design interventions to seamlessly disseminate the principles of design thinking into the HORECA industry. We raise awareness of the opportunities for a highly customizable ambiance through adaptive lighting. In this way we drive innovation in this traditional sector. Although the sector is already sensitive of the space’s ambience, stakeholders’ lack of technology know-how is a limitation for understanding how novel developments can be adopted. Guests accustomed to personalized apps and products will appreciate customizing experiential aspects when visiting a restaurant.

Business Transformation

We envision to have an impact for both designers and the HORECA industry. For industrial designers, novel market opportunities will be highlighted that include: 1) the design of custom-made, ultrapersonalized “smart artifacts” 2) the design of adaptive lighting solutions 3) the design of lighting-related accessories. For the HORECA industry, novel business models will be highlighted through this project. For example, special “ultrapersonalized” tables that make use of adaptive lighting that interacts with tangible, custom-built artifacts can be of new added value. 


Ambianti B.V.