Using the Philips Hue lights, Jingwen and I developed a lighting system for restaurants. It’s a common problem for restaurants to have lights set very low at dinner time, which makes the act of reading menus difficult. I personally have had family and friends have to use their iPhone lights, or previously carry around small keychain lights, in order to read menus. There can also be situations where different levels of light are desired. You might want a different atmosphere for your date than when you go out with family.
With that in mind, we used the Hue lights to make a system that would allow user interaction, constrained by the restaurant. The restaurant control panel below shows how the staff can constrain levels and make color palettes for the customers to choose from. This allows the customer to have some freedom of choice, but within the bounds of mood and decor the restaurant is trying to keep. While choice is great, you don’t necessarily want people, or small children, setting the lights to bright green and pink if it’s not what the restaurant calls for.
On the customer side, the interacts are two-fold. A simple switch is set to toggle between the two most common settings, a family dining setting (dimmer, warm lighting) and a reading setting (brighter, light colors). This makes it easy to brighten the table while menus are being read, then turn the lights back down after ordering, if desired. The controller is wireless in this case, but in practice it would make more sense for it to be hard-wired.
There is also a simple mobile interface with a few additional options, including settings for dates (lower, red-tinted colors), business meetings (brighter, cooler, more serious colors) and an overall brightness slider. Our thinking was the simple switch would be the most-used, and least obtrusive feature, and should be easiest to use without interrupting dinner. But, people would perhaps still want some additional control which could be delivered through a phone with easy clickable options.