plyLight is a rapidly developed prototype made up of 44 hand soldered circuit boards. Each board contains three LED’s, a photoresistor, a Darlington transistor, and various resistors and capacitors. By using only analog electronics components, plyLight does not require a processor to function. These boards, which are powered by 12 parallel 9V batteries, are embedded between two milled pieces of plywood. Cavities for the LED’s and photoresistors are milled into the plywood leaving only a thin veneer between the components and the surface allowing the exterior of the object to appear as a plain piece of plywood.
When a user swipes a hand across plyLight the photoresistors are shaded and turn on the three LED’s clustered around it. The LEDs illuminate circles on the board’s surface and the previously simple plywood becomes a display interacting with the user. These discrete interactions take place across the board allowing the user to leave a trace of glowing LED’s behind their hand. The LED’s fade after a hand moves across the board and the effect is that of visual tracers of sparklers at night or of drawing on wet sand which quickly fades back to a flat surface.
The implications for this interaction are not bounded by a singular idea or function. The interface was developed with the understanding that this could be implemented for multiple projects and purposes. The boards could be wired to a microcontroller which communicates with a computer and could begin initiating lighting sequences on its own or in relation to a building system’s function (e.g. control of lighting, sound, or actuated surfaces).