calmworklight: Mediating needs in shared workspaces 💡


🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏿 I facilitated an Ideation Workshop (structurally resembling the Future Workshop where participants re-imagined shared workspaces. If the current state of technology, budgetary constraints or further implementation barriers didn’t apply, what tools would make their experience of working in shared spaces easier?

🎤 Participants (all regularly work shared spaces, 4 designers -2 interaction, 2 industrial-, 4 knowledge workers in corporate, 2 psychologists and 1 architect) individually worked to create their own, sometimes reality-bending, concepts. Later, they briefly presented their ideas and cast their vote for top 3 most liked concepts.

❤ The most liked concept of the workshop proved to be the Orange Elephant: An object with shared meaning, which signals the individual’s need for uninterrupted focus time when put on desk.

🧠 Starting off with this idea, we built calmworklight, a desktop lamp that responds to changes in peoples’ focus strength, using the commercially available NeuroSky MindWave.

ℹ️ The lamp’s expression depends solely on the user’s level of focus. If it is strong, the lamp returns a steady, calming warm light. If not, the light emission follows a breathing pattern, aiming to encourage the user to be more mindful of their breath.

📝 While we didn’t pursue calmworklight’s extended production, initial user studies found it useful in shared workspaces. The research and implementation is documented in more detail in our Designing Interactive Systems conference publication.