Photon is a whimsical lighting control interface where perception of weight is used as an intuitive control for the brightness of a room.
Photon was inspired by Don Norman's example of multiple light switch panels in the acclaimed book The Design of Everyday Things. I have a personal connection with this is a subject because my parent’s home is full of incomprehensible multi-switch lighting control panels. I wondered, what haptic sensations could be used to intuitively control this kind of system? After some exploration, I landed on weight as a unique mapping for the control of light.
Each ball contains a unique RFID tag. The weight of each ball relates to the amount of light they activate in the room when placed into the circular affordance. Photon uses an Arduino with RFID reader, Raspberry Pi, and a local wifi connection to control lighting remotely.
With Photon, the choice of ball actions in relation to the base needed to be deliberate. The on and off interaction begs a system different from one with dimming. My testing found that the on/off dynamic worked well with my half and half design. Users also felt that the balls should rest within a physical affordances to prevent rolling. I utilized this user testing feedback in the fabrication of my foam prototype.