Interaction Design in its narrow sense usually refers to our interaction with software interface; however every moment of us using tools and contacting physical objects, we are having interactive experiences. Generally we think a product being manufactured and sold at the store is the end of the design cycle, but that is only the start of its interactive cycle with its owner. We live in a time that is impossible for us to detach from mass-produced artifacts and infrastructures. The objects we own defines who we are and how we behave, they also gain traces of identity from our use over time. In a sense It is a state of symbiosis or inter-dependence. When we appreciate old things, we are appreciating the human trace injected into the object that makes them unique. Fade of indigo on mass-produced jeans, patina on copper teapot, the mass-produced commodity gains personality over time, differentiating them from their newly manufactured counterparts.

The way of a design fits into a person’s behavior spectrum is more significant than its initial attraction to the user on the shelf, and greater attention can be put into the design process to help the adoption happen in a more meaningful way. Those aforementioned examples of people changing objects happen in a rather passive way. A aluminum pot is going to dent, scratch and oxidize no matter if the user loves, hates, or feels indifferent toward it. I would like to design an interactive experience that is can more actively process the user’s input, is more emotional, and fun.

I made three pressure-sensitive lamps. They translate the amount of pressure applied onto the top panel into corresponding amount of light (lumen). That means the heavier the object(s) placed on the top is, the brighter the lamp will be. It is a fully functional device, yet it is purposeless. It depends on the existence of other objects to function. It is meaningless by itself, but it filters whatever input it receives following its own logic. The device is ambiguous and undefined, it takes shape through what the user owns and how the user would like to use it. It encourage the user to reevaluate his or her belongings in terms of weight, categorize them in order to get the full spectrum of the light. At the same time user will develop idiosyncratic behavioral pattern through the adaptation process.

To see exactly how people will use those curious gadgets, I posted ads on Craigslist and physical posters around RISD and Brown Campus. 3 People adopted the lamps for a week and documented their life with them through photos.


Posters for adoption:

What happened to the lamps during adoption:

Process pics

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