This was a quick study on how soft lamps could be networked together, and how the distributed user interface could work within the overall system.

The system consisted of soft light diffusors made from leftover protective foam, capacitive sensors suited for low-power use, and XBEE-modules with different variants of Arduino (Duemilanove and FIO).

If the user would touch one of them to either turn it off or on, the information would propagate to the rest. Now, would you send the on-off state or data of the touch? What happens, when packages get lost? What happens with conflicts of multiple users? Who is right, or are there several rights?

We explored how the (effect of) touch could be transmitted to the others, and in so doing, which device would be in overall control of the system state. Since the system state is distributed, it creates an interesting dilemma for other networked systems without centralized control.

It is still something I would love to write about, but haven’t had the time. If someone is interested, please throw me an email and we’ll see what can be done.

Connected lights