HackHAL the prototype
This section describes the prototype I built to investigate the principles outlined in the previous section. The objective of this system was to explore the idea that users of physical computing objects develop an emotional attachment to such objects.
HAL Table Lamp
Fig. 30: HAL Table Lamp as displayed in Habitat’s web site [http://www.habitat.net]
The idea for this project came unexpectedly while browsing in the home ware store “Habitat”. The HAL Table Lamp originally designed by Anna Pretty, was the starting point of the project. It is a clear plastic square box that consists of a 9X9 array of 81 red and white LEDs. HAL has 2 different settings. In the first setting all the LEDs are lit and in the second, three different groups of equal in number LEDs, progress sequentially. Although there is not any trace of intelligence in the sequential setting, HAL gives the impression that progress randomly. The viewer needs to observe for at least a couple of minutes to realize that what gives that impression of “randomness” is just a sequence of just three sets of LEDs. The observation of such a lighting device raised the issue of what potential such an apparatus could have if one was able to manipulate the function of each LED individually. Such realization was motivating and lead to the investigation of the Physical Computing sector. The next stage was to obtain a HAL Table Lamp and decompose it in order to investigate the ways that one could control such a device
Fig. 31: HAL in action
Fig. 33 The two setting of HAL,( from right to left) when all LEDs are lit, and when the three different sets progress sequentially.
Using Everyday Objects as Communication tools