Gabriella Levine
Jack Kalish


ByteLite is an interactive overhead color lighting fixture composed of a red, green, and blue light controlled by a series of 24 wall-mounted light switches.

Introduction to Physical Computing

In the modern age, society is immersed in computing culture to the degree that it defines our relationships, careers, and lives. There is almost no place on earth where computers are not being used on a daily basis. Even in third-world nations, people are dependent on cellular phone technology. Though we are surrounded by computers and greatly effected by their role in our lives, very few people actually understand how computers work. Big Pixel aims to take one basic, ubiquitous aspect of computer, the pixel, and blows it up to a size that makes it easy to understand and portrayed in a physical representation that is familiar and non-threatening: an overhead light controlled by light switches.

ByteLite is an installation representing an individual LCD pixel, and the bit data that defines the color of the pixel. The pixel is represented as three tube lights: one red, one blue, and one green that are housed within a box protruding from a wall. Beneath the box is a row of 24 switches, each switch representing one bit of information about the pixel. The first 8 switches allow for a range of 0-255 for the red light, the next 8 for the green light, and the final eight for the blue light.

ByteLite aims to be an immersive interactive experience for the user that is engaging, intuitive and pleasant to interact with. It also aims to get the user to wonder about the nature of computers.

User Scenario
In a dark room, one colored light shines down from a box affixed to the wall, washing the wall in a beautiful color. You see on this wall is a row of 24 switches. Intrigued, you approach the switches. Standing in front of the switches, you are now bathed in a colorful light. Naturally, you flick a switch, the color of the light changes from teal to fuchsia. You flick a few more of the switches, and the color continues to change. You soon notice multiple shadows being cast by your body, in different colors. You look up and to your astonishment you see three fluorescent lights; red, green and blue and you realize the color being cast down is a mixture of these three colors, and you can continue to flick the switches, decoding the combinations of switches that give you the desired color. Others visitors to the room witness this and are intrigued, they approach and play with the switches, turning it into a social experience.