The LESR® principle
The LESR® 14 (speak “Laser 14”) is a ring of 10 LEDs with a total diameter of 40 mm, slightly resembling a clock. 4 more LEDs are placed in the middle of the ring, arranged like a “+” which makes a total of 14 LEDs. The LEDs are RGB and can produce a theoretical 16.7 million of colours.
Inside the “+” – so small that you can hardly see it – is an infrared based gesture sensor which comes from smartphone technology. It can analyse the environmental light, proximity, and gestures.
The sensor data is collected by a small processor unit (the LESR® controller), which is completely programmable and will use the LEDs to give the user an instant feedback.
We are used to feedback. The first feedback we get is our nerves telling us that the finger has touched the surface. At this point we are expecting a reaction. Also, a good touch screen application gives the user instant feedback on what he has selected. This is normally done by highlighting a selection, changing the colour or size of an element for example. This highlighting has two vital functions: it shows where (what) the user touched, and it signals us to wait for some reaction which is not always happing immediately.
On a computer with a mouse we are also using the mouseover event to make the selection visible before we click. When a finger moves towards an item on the screen, the brain might still be thinking what exactly to touch. The highlighting gives the user the time to reconsider and maybe finalize her / his decision.
LESR®uses colour, forms and signs to match to the content on the screen. This way the user can easily make a connection between contents and which LESR® ring to use. You can easily imagine this when you are thinking of a rating system with smileys in the typical 3 (or 5) colours red, green and yellow. The association for the user is easy.
But when using a sensor – where does the feedback come from? Where does the user have to put the finger exactly to initiate an action? And did he really touch or miss? This is where the LEDs are shining in a multiple role. Apart from linking the content by colour, the ring form automatically makes the user direct his finger or hand towards the middle of the ring. Also, the LEDs give immediate feedback to the user as soon as the sensor is triggered by changing their brightness or colour or even by an animation. The user knows that he is interacting at the right position because of this feedback.
In our examples we like to use an animation which we call “clock”. As soon as the user triggers the sensor, the LEDs are one by one intensifying their brightness, starting to build a clockwise circle, letting the user know that he must keep his finger in this position to achieve an action. The animation also works like the highlighting function – the user has time to reconsider and remove his finger to cancel his action.
The result is a fully guided, easy to understand, intuitive and cancellable sensor interaction.
Moreover, the 4 LEDs inside the ring can be used to add more feedback or even more accurate guiding to the sensor.