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There are various types of switches such as those with cords near the light bulbs, those attached to the walls, etc. Among the change of the types of switches, universal designs towards them changed as well. Long ago the type of switch where you turn on and off the light by pulling the string attached to the light bulb was the common, but this form was hard to use for small children, wheelchair users, or elderly people. This dissatisfaction and advances in technology eventually lead switch to change its form, and switches installed on the wall became regular. This type let the switch placed low and could be used comfortably by children and wheelchair users, and the small bulge attached to the switch led visually impaired people to distinguish on and off as well. However, the switch in those days were still small, and weren’t kind enough for elderly people.This is how the bigger sized switch seen today was born. This type of switches can be easily switched with less power, and helped not only elderly people but also injured people or people who have luggage in both hands. The most recent type of switches is the type with sensor on it. The sensor reacts and turns on electricity regardless of physical differences or circumstances when it approaches an electric light, and will probably become the most common type in the future.

sensor-type switch

A switch that switches on and off by pushing both sides of the switch (see above) is called a rocker switch. This type of switch may be seen not only in electric lights but also in many places such as electric appliances and toys for children. This type of switches often has symbols with bars and circles to represent on and off. These symbols are hard to identify which is on or off, but actually the one with bars are on and the one with circles represent off. This is because circle is an international symbol to represent binary 0 meaning off, and bars signified binary 1 meaning on. However, many Japanese people has an image that circles have positive image and represents on. If you display in UD style, it is necessary to devise symbols that can clearly indicate on and off, which is newer and older, etc.

Our Thoughts

Everyone has a chance to touch switch at least once a day in daily life, but unfortunately, universal designs are not thought much over designs of switches. I was surprised that the display of bars and circles was actually an international standard. Sometimes it could be dangerous for people to misrecognize the on/off of a machine, and so I thought that it is necessary for us to revise international standards.

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