The History Tablecloth

The History Tablecloth is a device that augments a kitchen or dining room table, featuring an illuminating covering and a system of load sensors that slip under the legs. When objects are left on the table, the cloth starts to glow beneath them, creating a halo that expands very slowly. When items are removed, the glow fades quickly. The Tablecloth is made using an electroluminescent printing technique and forms a large, low-resolution display. When used in a domestic space, it provides a hidden dimension that is often thought-provoking, or simply enjoyable – people might be reminded to tidy up more often, or become reluctant to move things lest they disrupt the patterns they form. However, the Tablecloth doesn’t dictate peoples’ reactions, it provides a situation for them to interpret.

Click here for a conference paper about the project.

A photograph of a teapot on top of the History Tablecloth
A photograph of bowls, plates and jars on the History Tablecloth in the home of a participant
A blurred photograph of a participant sitting at their kitchen table with the History Tablecloth illuminated various items on the surface
A photograph of an IRS researcher installing the History Tablecloth in the home of a participant
A photograph of a prototype of the History Tablecloth using electro-luminescent paper