The project was done as part of the “Tangible Interaction Design” live workshop at ‘Domus Academy’ in conjunction with ‘OPEN DOT’ , a community based fab-lab and design studio in Milan.
With the constantly improving socio-technical habitats and an enhanced and hyper connected domesticity – the task of expressing the habits & behaviours captured in the home was given to us. The aim was to bring this dialogue in a playful manner through the maker-based design practice. We chose an interactive self-conscious ‘desk lamp’ named ‘Layzlamp’ as our means of answering this brief.

The video of the output can be viewed as below. After the video , a brief case-study of the project is available. For the presentation of the project please download it here. ( its 140Mb due to high res images)

layzlamp from lvqiaochu on Vimeo.

Case Study


To design solution in the context of an enhanced domesticity with a perspective that goes beyond mobile, where individuals and little groups express themselves, where socio-technical infra structure support self-organising, informal creative processes embracing an “OPEN” philosophy sharing moments, daily activities, portions of life.


Praveen Sinha, Minju Kim & Lv Qiaochu – Interaction Designers

As we were from same stream of design we worked collectively in all the stage. From Discovery to Delivery phase. Special thanks to Qiaochu for the video output & Minju for coming up with story & brand guides.


To initiate the project , we were introduced to a few interaction modalities viz. Soft Control, Playful Trace & Open Doors.

Our team chose the typology of ‘Playful Trace’. It dives into the space of strangely familiar objects – a distributed element(s) that OBSERVE, RECORD and transmit information in order to MONITOR AND REPORT with a JOYFUL appearance habits of an individual or group of individuals who share spaces, tools and resources.

Discover Phase

We started with observational research of our own habitats. Each team member went created a object log of different appliances which are connected to the internet at their homes, or connected to among one another for ease of life like room heaters.

To gather more research material , we did the above exercise again with an objects’ perspective of humans living in the habitat. We each noted a observation on our own habits from the perspective of objects kept in our vicinity like plates, racks, buttons, alarm, tables, lamps e.t.c.

We made two lists from the above activities – One for the objects & One for the habits observed.

Define Phase

Next we used the design method of boundary-shifting, and created a range of object-habit pairs. After narrowing down the matched up pairs – we made storyboards for each of them. How the objects will behave in the vicinity of a human ? was the chief topic of investigation. We voted on the object-habit pair and decided to work on a ‘lamp’ which is ‘lazy’ in its habits.

To define this lamp further, we made different scenarios of this lamp existing alongside its owner or non-owners. We considered different stimuli it can get affected from – like light, motion, sound, human in vicinity, outside whether, position of stars, other devices at home, time e.t.c.

We noted down our objectives for this lazy lamp :

  • No Mobile Devices – as stimuli or behaviour inducer.
  • Object with Characters – to give a playful lifelike responses.
  • Connected to Physical Space – for a habitat aware object.
  • Design Fiction – for envisioning future object-human relationships.

To speculate its existence in near future, we took into account the ability to “adapt” as one more feature of the concept. As the object can learn through the stimuli in its habitat, it can change its response over a period of time or learning.

Develop & Deliver Phase

Since we had to deliver the project as a working prototype, we moved to prototyping the physical structure of the lamp, while simultaneously working on the inner logic based -mechanisms.

We sketched the different behaviours it can respond with through its own body. While doing this we were searching for apt material to perform those actions also. We looked at various other projects & mechanism to solve this problem. We finally decided to go with the mechanism used for anima-tronics used in movies like Jurassic Park e.t.c. We decided to move the lamp body using two strings and have a body like a sinusoidal snake.
After this, we had to reduce a lot of behaviours of the lamp due to material restrictions. At the end we took an IKEA lamp body & using laser cut acrylic rings – fixed the motion mechanism for the lamp.

For the logic part of the lamp, we created a matrix of Inputs, Modes & Behaviours. We selected the inputs from the sensors & internet and chose behaviour outputs based on LED, body posture & social media. To connect the inputs & outputs , we defined various working ‘Modes’ for the lamp.

The final overview of the lamp can be shown as below.

We envisioned the final form of the layzlamp in a form of a minimal tube, with a body of silicone. It would have a degree of motion based on 6 servo motors & the top part of the lamp will have integrated sensors to take in the habitat stimuli.

Built Protoype

Further, we created a branding for the layzlamp & a storyboard for it. The story was that the lamp is an alien from another world & since their sun has died they came to earth. They find themselves at peoples home, and they slowly learn to live with humans on earth.

This project was later showcased at the ThingsCon event in Milan in 2016.