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Chair’s Light Illuminates the Not So Light

Photonics Spectra
Nov 2007
Michael A. Greenwood

You might want to think twice before plopping down in one of these chairs.

Sure, they look comfortable, and they probably are. But if you are weight-conscious (and who isn’t?) and hide your extra poundage like a closely guarded secret, these chairs are probably not for you.

Made by Studio Mongoose Inc. of Tokyo, the chairs have the unusual ability to change colors like a chameleon. The darker the tint of a particular color, the heavier the person being supported. The lighter the tinge, the lighter the load.

PeregChairs.jpg

Images courtesy of Studio Mongoose Inc.


The chairs come with a high-tech circular table that drives the funny furniture. Embedded under the table’s glass surface are smart circuits that scan any object placed on the tabletop and then turn the furniture set the same color. Place a banana on the table and you’ll have a glowing yellow décor. Feeling a bit more conventional? Try a manila envelope, or maybe a white towel. Want to experiment? Place a ripe strawberry, a Granny Smith apple, a shiny new quarter, pink sunglasses and a pumpkin all on the table together and you’ll get a mélange of colors. The possibilities are endless.

And the wonders of the Fuwapica furniture line don’t stop there. Whatever color or colors are emitted also are made to pulse, at about the same tempo as human breathing — giving the furniture a lifelike effect.

The table has an Apple computer system built into it that sends wireless messages to the four chairs, which project the changing colors through their translucent shells.

The furniture actually has a basis in Japanese culture. The ancient Japanese believed that the world was filled with spirits that inhabited not only living things but also inanimate objects. Everyday items such as chopsticks, teacups and, yes, even chairs, had a spirit.


GLOSSARY
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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