New Lights By Panasonic Are Designed to Make You Less of a Jerk

Unveiled as part of the 2018 London Design Biennale, these futuristic lights turn on when “treasured and handled with care.”

Panasonic emotion light
Courtesy Panasonic

Last week the world learned that goats are surprisingly good at intuiting human emotions and (unsurprisingly) prefer happy expressions to dour ones. Now, designers Panasonic are trying to get inanimate objects to achieve the same. Today as part of the 2018 London Design Biennale the Japanese electronics company unveiled a series of experimental lights designed to illuminate depending on the user’s mood.

The lights are a response to the Biennale’s theme, “Emotional States.” Called Kasa, the enigmatic, pebble-like luminaires glow when “treasured and handled with care.” When approached aggressively, however, the lamp “reacts” by “descending into darkness,” according to Panasonic. Though the Kasa lights might seem to have a mind of their own, they rely on relatively straightforward technology: finely-tuned vibration sensors that are activated when handled roughly or gently. Light is then transmitted through reflective cracks in each object’s exterior. A cluster of five different lights—which alternately resemble phosphorescent toadstools, sea creatures, or dinner rolls—will be on view as part of an installation at London’s Somserset House.

“The design of everything around us—our homes, environments, the clothes we wear, and the products we surround ourselves with—all have immense power to influence our state of mind,” said Panasonic Design‘s creative director, Takehiro Ikeda, in a press release. “As new technology becomes ever more embedded into our everyday lives, there is no better time to explore the impact design can have on the very human language of emotions that we all intuitively understand and respond to.”

Kasa also coincides with Panasonic’s centennial anniversary. Ongoing behavioral-oriented research projects such as Kasa are “part of [Panasonic’s] wider vision of the next 100 years,” according to the company. Such explorations will hopefully result in useful technology—while ensuring we won’t be left emotionally in the dark.

Kasa will be on view at the Somerset House through September 23 as part of the 2018 London Design Bienniale.

You might also like, “This Time, the London Design Biennale Promises to Get Emotional.”

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