The Kowtowing Lamp is an exploration into products that have personality. As an object, it functions as both light source and a data visualization device. We decided not to specify the information displayed, imagining instead that people could map data sets of their choosing to the lamp's behavior via an API.
We started with a very clear idea about what we were constructing: a lamp that physically displays weather data by way of LEDs and programmed behaviors. Preferably the contruction would involve assembling parts cut out from the laser cutter and finished afterwards.
During the discussions on the product's language through it's interactions, we were quite influenced by how different situations created different interpretations and opportunities for projection of the same parts and components of our lamp. Like while programming the "bowing" gesture, occasionaly adjusting the lamp to bow too much, too little or too fast presented the lamp with different characteristics.
The lamp is made almost entirely of plywood. The top-most part is a single sheet made flexible and mat-like by laser cutting a special pattern. This pattern allowed us to wrap the sheet into a cylinder, creating a shade. The lower part is made of flat strips of plywood. As with the upper part, these are flexible and can bend outward, allowing light to escape. LED panels and chains were installed in both the top and bottom parts, and diffused with translucent paper and fabric. These lights, along with the servo motor that compresses the lower part by tightening a spool of wire, are wired to an external Arduino microcontroller.