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Helios aims to refine our connection to the natural world by portraying time through a lighting cycle inspired by the rhythms of the sun.


3D viewing room
Helios at Dawn

Helios rejects our modern synthetic relationship to time, and instead, takes cues from the ancient Egyptian and Babylonians who understood time according to the sun. Over the course of 24 hours, Helios projects a lighting cycle representing night, dawn, day, and dusk into the home of the user.

From Edgar Allen Poe, to the Japanese philosophy of Ma, to Einstein’s Theory of relativity, time and space have been theorized to be wholly entangled. As we continue to fill the space on our clocks with infinitely smaller increments, so too do we feel the need to fill this space with action and productivity. Whereas our ancestors relied on their relationship to the sun above, our relationship to time has been diminished that of synthetic numbers flashing across a digital face; the incessant ticking of a clock that blends into the noise pollution of the modern world.

Helios challenges this current reality by asking users to reconnect to their instinctual relationship with time. As the Science Museum of London states, “the one truly natural units of time,” are day and night - phenomena dictated by the sun. Helios draws inspiration from this original time-keeper in its design.

Through experimentation with color and perception, expert consultation from a Neurologist, and feedback from a group of representative users, a lighting cycle with variable light temperature, color, and luminosity was developed to denote four different moments of time: night, dawn, day, and dusk.

Grace Keeton

Grace Keeton is a 2020 graduate from the Design Products (MA) Program at the Royal College of Art. She is a creative people-centric strategist and user-experience designer who draws on research with depth in the human condition. She is passionate about driving design that has aesthetic value and theoretical depth. Coupled with her Mechanical Engineering background, which draws on her problem solving and critical thinking propensity, she is passionate about delivering user-center design.