MIT Media Lab research students and self-avowed nerds Jamie Zigelbaum and Marcelo Coehlo have presented a compelling light installation at this year’s Design Miami Basel, called ‘Six-Forty by Four-Eighty’. Working at the interface between design and digital technology, the duo, one of four recipients of the show’s W Hotels Designers of the Future Awards, have created a modular, interactive lighting system that encourages the user to touch, move, compose and recompose its constituent parts to create a rich visual drama.
Based on the idea of the pixel, the installation features 220 magnetic tiles, which, when moved, change colour. Dynamic light patterns across multiple pixels can be produced by simply pointing at them. Most fascinating of all though is the way that they can communicate with each other via the user: touching two of the tiles at the same time allows a current to pass through the person’s skin, which has a synchronising effect. Never was nerdiness so beautiful.