Light In The Dark

Conceptual Statement


Laurence Arlidge



This project is to bring awareness about the cold and damp housing conditions some families in New Zealand are enduring. After watching a piece John Campbell did recently I saw the damage that the increase in the cost of living has done to some families. To hear of families living in garages in New Zealand is a concern. 

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/304019/life-in-an-overcrowded,-cold-home

The methods used to make this project are 3D Design, Data Visualisation, Electronics Fabrication, Programming and Integration with IoT services. I am now able set up IoT devices, gather and interpret data into 3D software using parametric design tools, and use io services to monitor and control said IoT devices. I have also set up 3rd party apps to subscribe and publish to io services. The IoT devices all rely on the MQTT protocol which is the backbone of many IoT devices. http://mqtt.org/
But why did I choose IoT to create awareness of New Zealand housing conditions? IoT allows live streaming of important data like temperature and relative humidity. IoT can also bridge the gap between people and their awareness of environment. For instance I discovered that a relative humidity level below 45% is considered the healthiest by the W.H.O. I have made a visual aid to help me gauge the relative humidity and temperature levels within any given dwelling. 

I wanted to make something you could hold and touch that contained the data from my garage. The ability to interact is important to leaving a message with a user, they then hopefully take that message and pass it on. The idea that the holding of the object is imprinting that idea in the user is something I believe to be true.

I took over 100,000 readings in one week, I then extracted the temperature and relative humidity data at the beginning of each hour for one 24 hour period. I plugged that data into Grasshopper plug-in for Rhino 3D. The idea at first was not to create something I had any real control over, other than setting the way in which the data was interpreted. I wanted the data to tell a story, be readable, and also have some aesthetic appeal. The outcome was to be decided by a simple patch wherein humidity is input as the width of a circle (mm 1:1) and temperature is input as height (mm 1:1).


I noticed the ebb and flow of the data I was reading in the 400,000 plus readings I took overall. The way the days rose and fell in temperature and humidity. I wanted to show this ebb and flow as an interpretation, allowing myself to take artistic control over the design attempting to create something of beauty to draw a viewer in. I wanted to initially create a lamp and so I stuck with this intention. It needed to be internet tethered, portable, rechargeable and good looking. It also needed to be somewhat translucent. Selective Laser Sintering 3D printing in Nylon/Glass would suit the project well.

IoT services/dashboards allow me to display live data. They also allow for the control of connected devices. In my case, LEDs. LEDs or Light Emitting Diodes, are a great way to display conditional events. Why? because they allow for the use of colour to be a guide in the interpretation of raw data. For instance, is it 18°C, yes, Green LED on, Light In The Dark LED on.


My goal was to interpret data relative to the housing crisis, create awareness of the issue and create an interaction between a person and my installation.