The folks at TokyoHackerSpace, have taken a break from building geiger counters, and built this rather cute table lamp. According to the write up, this solar powered automatic light was originally intended for tables at a local restaurant.
TokyoHakerSpace’s Kimono Lamp looks a lot like a DIY version of the €35 Marmaled / Jelly Lamp from Semiki, but more technically advanced. (The Marmaled uses a tilt switch and two AAA batteries.) Really, when it comes down to it, the Marmaled’s jar and black label is what sets it apart. Of course, you can always buy jars wholesale
Video of the Kimono Lamp in action after the jump.
Looking at the photos of the air quality balloons, I thought of how they resembled sky lanterns, the small hot air balloons popular in parts of Asia. (The “trick” is fire proofing the paper.) I would like to make one of these, but living in California, I’m afraid they’d turn into fire balloons. Yes, a nonflammable equivalent could be made with Helium and some LEDs, but it doesn’t seem the same. The simple elegance of a bag and a flame is part of the attraction of the lanterns to me.
“Tethered balloon specialists”, Aerophile, a European balloon company, has installed a glowing balloon over Paris to inform Parisians of the local air quality. Named Air de Paris and located in the Parc Andre Citroën, the balloon relays data from sensors deployed throughout Paris as part of the CITEAIR project.
This work draws an obvious comparison to the work of Stacey Kuznetsov, a student in Eric Paulous‘s lab at CMU. Her Air Quality balloons, integrated a air quality sensor along with RGB LEDs directly into a weather balloon, to provide local, rather than regional air quality information. I have no idea of Aerophile contacted Stacy Kuznetsov, or what, but the idea of local information.
rAndom International unveiled xhibited “Swarm Light” (video and detail photo after the jump) at Design Miami / Basel last month. The installation consists of the three cubes of white LEDs. The LEDs are lit according to a flocking algorithm, and move in three dimensions around the cubes. Viewers can interact with the light by standing under the different cubes and by using sound to “scare” flock.
Evil Mad Scientist combined some LED throwies with sea urchin shells to create these interesting little lights. Throwies show up a lot on Make, probably because they’re brain dead simple, and like everything with LEDs, fun to look at. Wikipedia even lists some throwie derivatives.
I guess this means LEDs are the new candles. They’ve already taken over floaters, but at least the tea lights still have hot air balloons.
Jim Blackhurst’s SmartLED SolarTherm is a minimalist information display. Consisting of an RGB LED, a watch, and an ATTiny25 microcontroller. The chip contains a temperature sensor whose reading is displayed as light pulses. According the comments on Makezine, the internal temperature sensor is +/- 10 C (+/- 18 F), so its not very useful.
SolarTherm is simpar to M27′s Zach DeBord’s pummers. These charge a capacitor from a solar cell, and when the light level drops, the capacitor discharges, and causes an LED to blink.
While as an ambient displays these are visually interesting, especially Zach DeBord’s pummers, these seem to suffer from the main problem with all ambient displays. They trade simplicity for usefulness.
I want the display to be both pretty, but also informative. The display needs to be immediately interrogated. Similar to the how a grandfather clock provides a chime ever 15 minutes to an hour, but also can be viewed in order to learn the exact time. I’m thinking of something like Riedi and Gloor’s Weather Diorama.
Things like Nabaztag or the infinitely more endearing, Michael Kaminsky and Paul Dourish‘s SWEETPEA (aka “The Microsoft Barney Paper”) are more confusing than anything. Even baseball signs aren’t that confusing.
Maybe the best ambient display I’ve seen was simply a string hanging from a DC small motor wired directly into an ethernet cable. As packets would pass, the motor would be powered, causing the string to wiggle. As the network activity increased, so would the vigorousness of the string’s dancing. The great thing about this display is that it’s immediately and intuitively interpretable, while something more complex requires the user to learn some of sign language.
Spanish art collective, Luzinterruptus latest creation, Jardín para un Futuro, No Muy Lejano (Garden for a Not Too Distant Future), is 110 clear plastic containers, each containing a few leaves and branches, along with a green LED.
The artist statement says that installation was a humorous statement about the lack of green space in modern cities; but given the frequency of their installations, I think that’s more just talk than anything.
Luzinterruptus weekly installations are a bit repetitive. For instance, “Jardín” is reminiscent of their December work, Naturaleza Contra Cristal (Nature Against Glass), where they placed green LEDs and tree clippings on the Madrid Metro elevators stations. Parallels to Graffiti Research Lab‘s LED Throwies and Goggin and Keehn’s The Language of Birds could also be made.
Yes, it’s repetitive. Yes, other people are doing the same thing, perhaps even better. But I’m a sucker for LEDs in the dark.