Future Present

Berg Lamps


I love it when designer talk about the process behind their work. And even more when that process is both thoughtful and sketchy. For it’s through sketching and making design tangible that one can begin to experience and understanding it. And from that comes learning and thus the ability to iterate and improve.

Berg recently posted a really inspiring “report” of the work that they did, over the course of a year, for Google Creative Lab. The large design research project, which developed early discussions, was intended to explore what it would be like to have Google in the actual world, rather than through a screen-based interface. And so a they began to investigate, using computer vision and projection as the basis for the designs, what that might be.

The work uses the idea of a “smart lamp” that could both see and project. Using machine vision, the lamp could recognize regular real-world objects, the smart light would interpret the user’s needs and the objects in the environment, and then project the appropriate response.

Berg’s post (as well as this summary on Co.Design) talks about some of the work done by earlier researchers upon which they based some of their thinking. And it includes a generous collection of videos that beautifully show the design experiments that they did over the course of the project — some disarmingly simple, others surprisingly complex.

Great stuff — definitely worth deeper study.