Visible Light Communication as a material for design
Abstract: Visible light communication (VLC) is a novel complement to Radio Frequency Communication (RFC) and has many applications in wireless communication, indoor positioning and where RFC is not applicable. The problem is that the technology is black-boxed and therefore hard to apply in today’s design process. For designers to be able to use VLC in their creative process, this study uses the Inspirational Bits approach to expose the materiality of VLC by asking the question: How can we design artefacts that allow designers to engage in a conversation with Visible Light Communication as a material? Through Constructive Design Research, the technology was studied in iterations by building prototypes and reflecting on them. The prototypes are evaluated in two design workshops through observation and gathered feedback from 11 participants. As a result, seven artefacts were constructed to expose seven potential material properties of VLC. The observations and collected feedback show also that the artefacts help designers to gain tacit knowledge about VLC. The artefacts use the Arduino platform and standard electrical components. A by-product of this study is the "lumoino" toolkit for tinkering and prototyping with VLC. Eventually, strengths and weaknesses are discussed, and future work sections show the potential extensions of the artefacts and expansions of the toolkit.
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