We have recently been experimenting with an evolving set of interfaces and simulations of interaction for Lightweave, and we find this to be a crucial part of our process. With the kinds of works we create the digital prototyping is equally as important as the physical prototyping. As you will see below, the three different versions are very much works in progress, but as the complexity of our understanding of the project further develops it's useful to catalog and reflect on past iterations.
VERSION 1: SENSING PRESENCE
This first version simply followed the intensity of a sound source and activated light according to it's location (see image above). One of the most important lessons from Murmur Wall was nailing smooth drawing, which we achieved by mapping a varying position on a standard Gaussian function to color parameters.
VERSION 2: TRAFFIC SIMULATION
As we increased complexity we overlaid a drawing of Lightweave on the interface and generated a simulation of different sound sources, such as pedestrians, bicycles, cars, and trains, which trigger various light patterns over the installation to get a global sense of the aesthetic.
VERSION 3: OBJECT DETECTION AND SWARMS
We then moved on to a more response-based simulation and changed up the input. This version uses motion tracking cameras to measure visible traffic density to guide a "swarm" of light across the piece. The amalgamation of blobs in the upper gray block represents a passerby.
Each of these interfaces is already controlling the in-office mockup and the iterations of lessons from both the physical and digital prototyping feed into each other. We will continue to push the boundaries of both of these design realms so please stay tuned as Lightweave moves towards realization.
-Jeff Maeshiro and Collin Schupman