I present to you “Dynamic Ambient Lighting
for Mobile Devices” The information a normal mobile device can
show is limited to its display. With dynamic ambient lighting, the device
now has a new way to show additional information to the user.
In this example, an Android application I developed called “Public Transportation Locater”,
the ambient lighting helps the user to locate nearby public transportation stations.
Take this blue spot for example, it represents a subway station in the direction of the light.
Purple spots are bus stations. So as there are 2 spots on the left, I know I can expect
2 bus stations there. When I scroll the stations off screen, you
can see how the lights start to appear. There is also a purple spot to the right,
so there has to be a bus station there too. As the spot still hasn’t disapperead, I know
I can find another station to the right. You can see the helping effect of the ambient
lighting even better when you are zoomed in. Here I try to navigate to the bus stations
to the left again. As you can see, I do not only know that there
are 2 stations to the left, but I can also locate them very precisly. Dynamic ambient lighting is of course not
limited to the previously shown usage. This example application called “Call Detector”
demonstrates a way to interact with the light. So here I receive a call. Now if I am preparing
food and my hands are wet or dirty, I don’t want to touch the screen.
Cleaning my hands would probably take too long. So instead, I simply touch the red light
to reject the call. If I want to take the call, I can as you have
probably guessed, touch the green light. This will answer the call and turn on the
speakerphone, so I can talk freely without having to pick up the device.
Now as you can imagine, there are a lot of ways to interact with the light.
You could use it as a color picker for example, placing one finger on the light ring around
the device where the desired color is, while selecting the lightness and saturation
with your other finger on the display. Or you could simply use it to show different
states of the phone. A download could be visualized as a growing light area. As the download progresses,
the illuminated area gets bigger. A missed call could be visualized with a smooth
red light rotating around the phone. Other colors could represent an incoming email or
a text message. Games could use the ambient lighting too.
Simply imagine playing the classic game “Simon says” using the lights. A lot of people asked me how the lights will
look like when they are used in the the hand instead of on a table.
So as you can see, you hand will start glowing in pretty colors, but it is not very practical
to hold a phone like this. When you hold the phone very firmly, you can
see that almost no light will pass through your hand.
Here is a view of the backside of the prototype. You can clearly see the LEDs with the LED
drivers. You can also see the 2 foam blocks that act as distant holders to protect the
circuit board. The prototype hardware consists of 40 RGB
LEDs of which every single one can be controlled individually. This is implemented by using
a microcontroller with 14 LED drivers. Communication with the mobile device, in this
case, a HTC Desire, is carried out by using Bluetooth.
2 Additional proximity sensors allow simple interactions as shown by the “Call Detector”.
The prototype is very slim, only adding 6.8mm to the thickniss of the device, making it
unnoticable when looking straight from the top.
You can also see here, that the light aura is still visible when the phone is a short
distance away from the background. Thanks for watching and I hope you enjoyed
this video about “Dynamic Ambient Lighting for Mobile Devices”.