Magical Interaction

Van Mensvoort
October 12th 2007

mi lamp

Man's ability to control illumination is magical in itself but is seldom experienced as such because light switches are purely functional and generally don't stir up imagination. Designer Joris van Gelder rethought the boring activity of switching on/off a light to bring out its potential to evoke wonder and surprise. The magical lamp depicted in the movie below is an example of Magical Interaction an approach towards interaction design aiming to stimulate people to use their own imagination in the interaction with a product.

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As products are becoming more active and at the same time less visible in the environment, this enables more subtle and richer interactions between people, products and the environment. The core of Magical Interaction is in the elegant use of technology. The interactive magical lamp responds to an ultra-sound signal which is emitted by a special bracelet worn by the user.

Magical Interaction brace by joris van gelder (

Share your thoughts and join the technology debate!public: 1


Posted 19/01/2010 – 14:30

I don't believe it....why is the boy with the curly hair always next to the lamp? I think he is using a switch. Nevertheless a good idear and great to see the movement people make to activate the lamp....
Posted 22/10/2007 – 22:10

Cool video Joris, of course I should have stressed in the post that the concept is actually implemented by using the Doppler effect in radio waves..
Anyhow, I still enjoy the 'magical' test video in which you still operate the switch yourself. 'Wizard of Oz' and 'User Studies' have always been a excellent duo. :-)

Posted 17/10/2007 – 14:21

The lightswitch was really implemented. You can see it under "magical interaction - result" on my website ( or you can download the video directly:

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What is your view on the coronavirus?

Siri Beerends: I really embrace the idea that viruses can teach us a lesson in modesty. It is necessary that our position as the dominant species on the planet is being challenged. I also agree that it is a mistake to think that we are becoming Gods. But unfortunately, this is actually what is happening now. Corona doesn’t teach us to be modest, it teaches us how we can -as quickly as possible- go back to business as usual: saving our capitalistic economy.

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