This project began when a friend forwarded me a kickstarter project by the folks of The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science. Public Lab is a community which develops and applies open-source tools to environmental issues. The group created a "thermal flashlight", a device which takes the temperature of a space and translates that temperature into colored light, which shines back on the area. The thermal flashlight page gives the example of a prototype shining red on a coffee cup, or blue on a tray of ice. 

My connection to the flashlight sprung from issues that I deal with in my work: that I experience a physical prescence of light through sensitivity to the 'emotional' and actual temperature of a space. With the flashlight's capabilities, I could visualize and correlate changes in temperature with that of the color and intensity of light. 

Prototype: Thermal Flashlight, 2012

Marian Ochoa


Thanks to the open source nature of PLOTS, funding from a MICA Graduate Research Development Grant, and help from online tutorials, forums, and mailing lists associated with the Public Labratory, I funded and built my own thermal flashlight prototype.

My prototype responds to changes in its environment. But at this stage, I need more than a prototype. As I am pursuing additional time, space, and funding to continue this research, I have ceased further development on the flashlight. I am currently exploring other methods of interaction with light through immersive projection, though I sincerely hope to continue my research in this direction soon.