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An interactive light companion

Individual Project // Product Design // Arduino // App UI // Figma


Background Research


People working in major cities often have unhealthy lifestyles due to hectic schedules and long work hours that they face. The unhealthiness of their style is consisted of factors from imbalanced diet, lack of physical activity, and poor sleep quality.

Over 40% of people working in major cities report to be living alone in a survey conducted in 2019 across Top 20 cities in China. After a long day of exhausting work, many return home feeling empty and finding only solitude awaits.


Majority of people reports feeling lonely and empty after a long day of work. For people that live alone, they have very little desire to communicate because of lack of energy and chance to meet and make new friends or partner.

About Light

Light vs Space vs Emotion
Light vs Space

Research found that right lighting on walls and ceiling can create a sense of spaciousness, while low light levels can create an intimate atmosphere

Color temperature and density of lighting can impact one’s perception of a space emotionally

Light vs Emotion

Click to view in detail

Final Product

UME is designed with 3 modes for users to use, experience, and interact with. UME senses user’s presence and greets them with a glow once Bluetooth is connected.

Mode 1 - Ambiance Mode

Users turn on Ambiance Mode and change UME to the desired color to feel

Mode 2 - Calm Mode

UME glows and dims in a breathing-like pattern to help calm and ease user’s emotions.

Mode 3 - Minigame Mode

Users can play a quick little whac-a-mole game

Thinking Process

Click to view in detail

Design Concept

The light gathers data on owner’s diet, physical activity, sleep and work hours from owner’s phone and centralizes the information in an app

The light interacts with the owner when sensing owner’s return to home or mood through their voice and provides therapy or soothing powers by switching to different light modes


For the interior of the light panel, I designed the placement of the essential parts as following:

LED Light Strip

Light source of each light panel; wrapped and placed at the center of panels

Arduino Micro-controller

Stores Bluetooth, voice, pressure, and distance sensor; placed right below the LED strip

Battery Box

Powers all the electronics used

Production Process

Shape & Color

The product process began with experimenting with different shapes of light panel and finding the most suitable colors of the LED light strip.


Sensors below are used to support the interactive and display features UME has


For connecting to user’s mobile device

Pressure Sensor

Used for whac-a-mole minigame

For detecting when user is nearby

Proximity Sensor

Voice Sensor

For picking up user’s voice clues

App Interface

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