Since it’s launch Google has become an integral part of our lives, used everyday by most of us for good or ill it’s hard to imagine how we’d cope in a world where we didn’t have lots of the world’s knowledge (and lots of total garbage) available to us at the click of a mouse.
But imagine if Google wasn’t just a search engine that existed in the virtual world, but eked out into physical space too. What would it look like? How would we interact with it? These kinds of questions are what Google Creative Lab and speculative design darlings BERG looked at in a design research project called Lamps that took place last year.
The project involved designing conceptual “smart” lamps that create computer interfaces using projected light to play music and watch videos, among other things. In the intro to a blog post they discuss the idea behind it:
At the beginning of 2011 we started a wide-ranging conversation with Google Creative Lab, around near-future experiences of Google and its products. During our discussions with them, a strong theme emerged. We were both curious about how it would feel to have Google in the world with us, rather than on a screen. If Google wasn't trapped behind glass, what would it do? What would it behave like? How would we react to it?
This traces back to our studio's long preoccupation with embodied interaction. Also, our explorations of the technologies of computer vision and projection that we've talked about previously under the banner of the "Robot-Readable World."
Our project through the spring and summer of 2011 concentrated on making evidence around this – investigating computer vision and projection as 'material' for designing with, in partnership with Google Creative Lab.
The video above outlines their initial approach and the rules they set themselves, and you can see some of their ideas about making the immaterial material through “smart” light in the video below. Head to their blog for more.
Lamps: Dumb things, smart light