Light & Interactivity Week 1 – Emotional Fade

This week’s task is to create an interruptable fading LED, and I created a small device that uses fading LEDs to express different emotions in response to different kinetic stimuli – it’s called Pokemon Box Plus (beta).


The concept of this piece is inspired by the Pokemon Ball Plus, a Nintendo Switch Gaming Peripheral that works together with the Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee game. This ball can store data of a pokemon, and it will glow in several ways along with the pokemon’s growl in response to a player’s movement and actions taken on the joycon. After playing it for a while, I found that the number of glowing effects are rather limited, and does not contribute very well to the feeling of “a living pokemon dwelling in the ball”. So, I decided to make my own. Similarly, the pokemon living in my box will react using light, and depending on how a user move the device, it will respond in different ways.

Photo by Game Rant


Given the limited time frame, I only made light responses in this beta version and left the sound part aside for the moment. The goal of this version is to use ONLY fading effects to represent, or at least, relate a user to, different kind of emotions. To testify the idea, I set three constraints:

  • Only use 1 color;
  • Multiple LEDs are OK. But they should act in accordance so that they will fade in / fade out at the same time with the same pattern;
  • The spatial layout of the LED(s) should be as simple as possible.

Based on these constraints, I chose two attributes of fade, Speed and Intensity, and picked three combinations to represent three types of emotions – Peaceful/Calm, Joy/Delight, and Excitement/Surprise, as seen below:

For the user input, since I’m creating a dwelling place for a minimized pokemon, I don’t want to use a hard button/a joycon to forcefully make it react. Instead, I decided to stick to the overall movement of the box in the 3D space, to create a effect that seems like “the pokemon senses how its house is moving and responds in different ways”.

To do this, I used an accelerometer to capture the movement of the box, and relate different moving patterns to the emotions indicated above:

  • Gentle, Small Range — Peaceful / Calm
  • Rhythmic, Medium Range — Joy / Delight
  • Free Fall — Excitement / Surprise

Based on the design above, several iterations are made to testify the optimal size of the box, type of diffuser to use, and how well it responses when it sits on a user’s hand.

Final Work

Here’s how it works in action:

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