I/O Bulb and Luminous RoomJohn Underkoffler, Daniel Chak, Gustavo Santos, and Professor Hiroshi Ishii / 1998

I/O Bulb and Luminous Room

The I/O Bulb and the Luminous Room are the two central ideas in a project whose goal is the pervasive transformation of architectural space, so that every surface is rendered capable of displaying and collecting visual information.

An I/O Bulb is the conceptual evolution of the ordinary lightbulb: one which not only projects high resolution information but also simultaneously collects live video of the region it’s projecting onto.

A Luminous Room is the structure that results from seeding an enclosed space with a multiplicity of coordinated I/O Bulbs÷enough, specifically, so that every location is treated by at least one I/O Bulb.

Two large applications have been built to demonstrate the capabilities of the I/O Bulb: “Illuminating Light” is a general-purpose optics simulator, in which models of lasers, mirrors, lenses, and so on come to life, apparently projecting, reflecting, and refracting beams of light; while “Urp” is an urban planning workbench in which simple architectural models cast accurate shadows, pedestrian-level wind patterns can be observed and tested for different arrangements of buildings, inter-structure distances are automatically calculated and displayed around the models, reflections off the surfaces of glass buildings onto surrounding terrain made visible, etc.


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