Irwin Weiner ASID - Think of ordinary, everyday functions you perform in a room and they'll always include turning on lights. When planning a room from scratch, an interior designer will create an electrical plan which includes where to place light switches and electrical outlets - but a new technology could possibly reduce our dependence upon light switches. A Spanish company called Tecnalia has created touch sensors that use the electrical charge from human hands to turn lights on and off, as well as dim or brighten the intensity of the light. Embedded in wood furniture and cabinetry, a swipe of the hand over the WoodTouch sensors, and you're all lit up. Here's a demonstration video of this technology.
Here are some of my initial qualms. If you're in a dark room, how can you tell where to swipe your hand? Perhaps this technology is best used for task lighting, in which case you're still going to need light switches to turn on some overhead lights, sconces, or a certain lighting zone. And what if your hands are dirty? You're swiping them over your furniture, which would create some difference in the finish on your wood surfaces in the long run due to the oils on your hand. You've seen the way certain statues that invite touching have shinier spots where everyone touches or rubs; the same effect will happen on wood. It makes me think The Clapper wasn't such a bad invention for turning on lights after all!