Prototypes :: LiteBall • LiteHat • NiteLite

1.    “NiteLite” – Role:

    •  the artifact is placed in a room, next to a wall, or in the center of the room, and provides ambient light, constantly while turned on.  It serves the same purpose as a night light for children who are afraid of complete darkness, or to set a consistent ambience to a dark space.  There is no interaction whatsoever, the “Nite Lite” is turned on, and left to create soothing mixture of colors.  Because the NiteLite has a set functionality, users could purchase different colors, or the tri-color, as well as different sizes (= brightness) if they want to create different ambiences for different spaces in particular.

2.    “NiteLite” – Look and Feel:
    •  NiteLite comes as a single cube with only one switch, either a push on or toggle that the user interfaces with.  After turning the device on, the user sits back and enjoys the visual show created by the fading of the light on or off. The light is radiating from the clear cube directly, but more interestingly the light is projected vertically on to the ceiling, or perhaps a wall if oriented horizontally. The projected light takes the form of big circles, that mix different colors of light, in various sequences. The sequences would never be the same, utilizing various random functions, so that this does not become a repetitive (= annoying) effect.                            


—prototype of a multi-colored ceiling projection—

3.    “NiteLite” – Implementation
    •  translucent acrylic box has, on one face, a lens (can also be acrylic) that focuses and aims the light from the LEDs. The box houses 3 LEDs (of which colors can be combined and offered in different combinations), which are powered and run by a microcontroller (a small PIC would be fine). On/off switch can be very small, so the box does not have a front or back, only a ‘bottom’ from which no light would emanate (this is where the PIC and wiring are).  On/off can be push-button or a toggle, but it must be small and discreet.

4.    “LiteBall” – Role
        Role A. LiteBall are objects which users can carry around or place in one spot that emanate light that directly reflects the volume of sound occurring around the balls.  Users could have several balls placed around their home or room where they listen to music or just hang out.  The balls are sensitive to amplitude of sound enough such that a talking voice would be enough to watch the balls’ glow reflect peaks in volume.  Another context could be at a concert or show where people are given the balls to walk around with or attach to their clothing.  All of a sudden the crowd becomes part of the performance as the
intensity of the balls glow increases and decreases with the amplitude of the music, or performance.
       Role B. while intensity of glow is controlled by the amplitude of sound surrounding the ball, color of the ball can be controlled/affected by the movement of the ball. Juggling the balls would yield interesting effects, but DANCING with the balls (ie, moving it along specific axis’) would yield a performative instrument.  Learning curve of what direction yields what color would be very high, audience now become even more involved in a live performance setting.

5.     “LiteBall” – Look and Feel
        Look A.    LiteBall will have a flat side to the sphere, enough to be able to sit on a flat surface and simply be a source of spectacle for the user.   Being a static artifact for a spherical object is nice, as there are no corners, no front, no back at all.  The flat side would serve as the bottom and could contain a very small switch.  The pulsing light would emanate from the sphere evenly on all sides.
        Look B.   The material should feel like a very grip-able rubber so the user can hold on to it easily, even during intense physical exercise while holding the balls.  The effect would become glowing hands if the user moves them very quickly.  They should have some weight to them, as if someone was juggling, a nice weight is necessary for a good experience.


6.    “LiteBall” – Implementation
        Implementation A.  LiteBalls need to be made of a sphere of thick, translucent rubber. Inside, a single 360 degree tri-color LED needs to be controlled by a small microcontroller.  A microphone, which can be very small would require one or two holes on opposite sides of the sphere.  Microcontroller hears a range of amplitudes, and maps them to the PWM output for the brightness of the LED.  Automatic calibration of these ranges could happen every few minutes, so that the balls are effective in a quiet living or bedroom as well as a loud concert. The flat side of the sphere could have a recessed switch to not interfere with juggling or dancing, but still be able to sit nicely on a flat surface, not rolling around.
        Implementation B. An accelerometer must be embedded in the center of the sphere, for detection of movement.  Each of the three axis’ are mapped to R, B, and B, respectively.   Brightness of light still controlled by amplitude of sound around the ball, but color is now controlled by movement of sphere on x, y, or z axis.

7.    “LiteHat” – Role
• A cool hat that glows translucent colors, in patterns that the user could customize, and with LEDs placed in customizable arrangements around the headwear.  So cool, kids would be wearing it anytime they go out at night. Or, perhaps you are a weary parent and are taking your toddler or elementary aged child to an outdoor event, and it gets dark.  Keep track of your kid at night even in the dark by just putting this had on their head. They’ll think it looks cool, you the parent will always be able to see them! HUZZAH!