The name MOON-LITE arose when we brought a prototype of this project to an assisted living community, where one of the residents said that they don't need lighting because they rely on moonlight to get to the bathroom at night.
We took this as our archetypal persona, someone who is hesitant to add lighting to their environment at night perhaps because they think they don't need it, or because they have a partner sleeping next to them.
For Rose, we created three modules which work in tandem to make her life safer in seamless way, by augmenting her existing interactions.
Consider how these three MOON-LITEs interact in the following scenario!
Rose wakes up hungry in the middle of the night.
The MOON-LITEs detect her motion and enter a low brightness mode, highlighting obstacles in the room, and making it easy for her to get a bit of extra guidance if she needs it.
When she grabs on to any MOON-LITE, all other lites enter a high brightness mode to give Rose a bit of extra assistance as she moves around.
On her way back to bed, she can tap on the outside of the light-switch to deactivate the MOON-LITEs, something not usually possible with a motion activated system or turn on the room lights if she needs to find a book on her shelf.
If she forgets to tap the Light-Lite, the MOON-LITEs will all turn off automatically if they don't detect motion for a few minutes.
We have performed several user studies in senior centers and nursing homes around the Buffalo, NY area, with positive response from everyone from management to physical therapists, from building maintenance to the seniors themselves, who said:
A resident at a senior center enjoying a prototype MOON-LITE.
Grandma offering suggestions for making strip-lights more usable.
An example of how MOON-LITEs can be configured to trigger additional elements (here touch is controlling sound and projection). These elements can be useful when integrating MOON-LITEs in contexts where the user has high levels of visual impairment.
There are a number of existing solutions for adding night time lighting to living environments. There are of course light switches and lamps on your bedside table. There are the ever present night lights. There is the infamous clapper (which is sure to startle your partner). More recently there has been an influx of motion sensitive LED lights, as well as time sensitive lights that only activate at night.
We have spent the past two years developing a technology for prototyping applications for making electro-luminscent materials touch activated.
This board makes it possible for MOON-LITEs to offer several novel features over what is otherwise currently available.
- Touch them anywhere to turn up the brightness
The Whoa Board at the core of each MOON-LITE is the new technology which makes this possible!
- A low brightness motion activated mode
MOON-LITEs are wirelessly networked and are configured to turn on in a very low brightness state when they detect motion. This makes them easy to find, while making it less likely that they'll wake someone up if they roll over in bed, or if their cat comes into the room in the middle of the night.
- They can be turned off.
The Light-Lite integrates into any light switch cover, making it easy to tell your MOON-LITEs that you are done using them and you are ready for them to turn off, something not currently possible with more traditional motion activated systems.
- Easy to integrate.
EL materials come in paint, panels (like sheet of paper or strips of tape), or wires. You don't need to call a contractor to install a complicated lighting system only to find that it doesn't work for you. Just stick some tape on your wall. If it doesn't make sense, move it around. There is a low barrier for experimentation to help people arrive at the best solution for them. Stick some tape on the edge of your furniture to make it easier to avoid at night.
- Seamless operation.
MOON-LITEs are simply evolutions of existing household objects. There is no new interface to learn, you don't need to find a phone. Simply continue moving around your space as you did before, but with more confidence!