How do we create casual interactions with the people around us? A text message works, but is only effective if you want to invite a specific person. Often, I want some company for a walk. It truly doesn’t matter who, just someone to share a conversation with. To help encourage casual social interactions, I built a family of casualLamps.

These lamps were inspired by a lovely group of people who work in my office. Each day, they go on walks to help increase their step count. In order to schedule a walk, they require at least two willing walkers (no one wants to walk alone), but it never needs to be same two people. A couple times a day, I’d here them yell around the office, trying to find a friend for a walk. Invariably, someone would be busy and feel interrupted. I wondered if I could build a device to help this group more smoothly interact.

As soon as I finished the units, I gave one to each walker to keep on his or her desk. The lamp’s usual state is off. When someone wants to go on a walk, they simply tap the lamp, causing all of the lamps around the office to all turn yellow, asking the question, ‘does anyone want to walk with me?’. If someone else is interested, they simply tap back, changing the state of all of the lamps to green, signifying ‘there are enough of us, lets go walk’.

unit unit unit

The units have been on the group’s desks for the last few months, and they are used everyday. These units seem to delight the users through their simplicity, beauty, and effectiveness.

Header photo © Sam Woolf 2017
Icon photo © Sam Woolf 2017