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Video Timothy Lord Discovers the Good Night Lamp at CES (Video) 236

Many reporters go to the CES, AKA Consumer Electronic Show (warning - link landing page plays annoying sound) in Las Vegas to see the newest 42.001" LCD TVs, which are 0.001" bigger than last year's 42" models. And there are many boring Windows 8 devices, many of which both run Windows and can display the number 8. These items, along with keynotes from tech gurus like Bill Clinton (We're not making this up!) may be amazing to some news outlets, but not to Slashdot or to Our Man Timothy, who seeks out the new, the bizarre, and the unusual and -- without taking a dime from them -- lets their instigators talk to him about their wares. But it's got to be good stuff, not run of the mill incremental advances. Like the Good Night Lamp(tm), which was invented by Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, whose "work has been exhibited," says the page, "at the Milan Furniture Fair, London Design Festival, The Victoria & Albert Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York." Now the Good Night Lamp people are showing off their product and trying to raise money through Kickstarter. But that's enough from us. We will now hand the microphone to Ms. Deschamps-Sonsino and let her tell you the rest.


Timothy: Hi Alex, could you introduce yourself?

Alex: Hi. I am Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino. I am the founder of the Good Night Lamp.

Timothy: The Good Night Lamp. What is that?

Alex: The Good Night Lamp is a family of internet-connected lamps. You have a Big Lamp and Little Lamps and you give the Little Lamps away to anyone around the world and when you turn your Big Lamp on, the little ones turn on. So you can collect Little Lamps through your family members; you might live abroad or in different cities. You might want to give a Big Lamp to your grandmother who lives by herself, and then you get a Little Lamp and you know when she is at home, she is doing stuff, she is just going about her daily life. If you have a daughter who has gone off to college, then she gets the Big Lamp, you get a Little Lamp and you know that she is coming home, she is safe, everything is good.

Timothy: How did you come up with the idea?

Alex: I came up with the idea when I was a student doing my MA in Interaction Design in 2005. And this is something that has been sitting there for a while, and then this year, in March last year actually, we decided, I decided to make a company out of it and tried to look for funding, and we have a little bit of seed funding from some friends, but now we want to get to the next level. We are on Kickstarter from last night. And so we are looking to raise some money to really make a first batch.

Timothy: Now Kickstarter projects often have some kind of a premium? Do you have something like that going?

Alex: Yes. We have, you can get a regular set if you give us £89 or more, but if you give us £150 or more, then you get to choose the veneers or the type of woods that you have on the lamps, and also the color of the Little Lamps, if you want them colored, and you also get a message engraved on the lamp if you want. And this is something that we will never do again because it is a lot of labor involved.

Timothy: Now your background is as a designer. Is this the first product that you brought this far from idea to reality?

Alex: Yeah. This is the first, this next step is Kickstarter phase and everything else is really new. I have always worked in prototyping and a lot with Arduino and this is built with Arduino. And this is really the first time we are experiencing what it is like to try to think about retail, to think about you know where this fits into people’s lives, and how do you market it?

Timothy: Now what about the software that runs it? Are you giving people access to that in any way? Are you using a system Arduino that is associated with a lot of open source developers?

Alex: Yeah. I mean what we are doing at the moment is trying to figure out how best to make the product and then how best to make it open source afterwards. Because it has a lot of those types of technologies, and the platform we are using to prototype is open source. And then eventually what we want to do is have, kind of, DIY kits that everybody can use. Because the infrastructure of connecting lamps isn’t that complicated technologically. It is more about – the use case is more about the product itself, it is more about trying to find something that everyone can relate to.

Timothy: Now these ambient devices, they are sort of subtle; they are not too in-your-face. Can they do anything else besides light with white LEDs inside?

Alex: What we want to be able to build is basically a kind of a platform, a hardware platform for people to start opening that up and then building more for themselves. So we will have RGB LEDs available and only use them on whites, but if you want to hack it then you can open it up and try to use different colors. And then that will also give us a direction as to whether that is a real need, and people really want to see red lights for Christmas or green lights for you know, whatever, whatever day of the year. And then try to experiment with okay well, what if you plug other services on top of that? And what if one of your Little Lamp, one of your Little Lamp is a Skype lamp, for example, and you know, a Twitter lamp, or whatever it might be. So every time you’re added, then you get a little, kind of, burst of light, and whether that makes sense? But we want to focus on the core user kind of experience for now, and then build on top when everything goes well on Kickstarter.

Timothy: And do you know where is the most interesting place that any of these are in use right now?

Alex: Well, right now we have our prototypes for ourselves, but people have suggested kind of really interesting uses and also trying to work with light as a Morse code, so if something’s happening and you want your friends to call you, then ‘call me now,’ and like click click click

Timothy: Are you turning on any lamps in London from here in Las Vegas?

Alex: No we are not because it is a little bit expensive on our roaming and charges. So we are doing the minimum of viable setup for CES but we are super excited and people are super nice here.

Timothy: Great.

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Timothy Lord Discovers the Good Night Lamp at CES (Video)

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 10, 2013 @11:12AM (#42545871)

    He was a keynote in Chicago in the late 90's on the digital divide.
    (granted he was president then)

  • by miowpurr ( 1004277 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @11:33AM (#42546169) Homepage
    This may be good for elderly relatives living on their own. When they turn their lamp on in the morning, you know they are ok. If it doesn't turn on by a certain time, have the police (or a trusted neighbor) run a "welfare check" on them.
  • by David_Hart ( 1184661 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @11:58AM (#42546567)

    1. Instead of selling/producing the large lamp. they should develop a module with embedded WiFi that goes between any lamp and the power circuit. That way you could use any lamp with the system.
    2. Instead of selling separate little home lamps and, presumably, having multiple lamps, what they should do is develop a "Christmas Village" type product with multiple houses, street, etc. Each miniature house would then light up based on the status of the paired module.
    3. Create virtual "Christmas Village" software/web page

    For the "Christmas Village" piece, it could have different scenes: Winter, Suburbs, Big City, Summer cottages, etc. In fact, if they did it right, they could develop the village layout that allows for skins for each of the houses, landscape, etc. which could be changed based on the season, etc... For example, this would allow the user to set up a village with an office building, cottage, house, etc. You could add grass, asphalt, water, snow landscape skins, etc.

    Personally, I think that it would be cool to see a miniature village light up when my sisters, parents, nephews, etc. are home. At least I would then know when to call them to wish them a happy birthday, etc.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson