Justin Lange is an inventor. Or, in modern parlance, a “creative technologist.” Either title suits Justin, as long as it means that they (preferred pronoun) work creatively at the intersection of new technology and human interaction.
Justin’s most recent design, for instance, is a headlamp that automatically turns off when the wearer looks people in the eye, so as to avoid blinding them. Called LoBeams, the new product is set to launch this summer with a Kickstarter presale. It follows another invention that Justin designed just after grad school: a ‘smart’ compass that lets the user locate friends/family outdoors without needing a cell phone. The compass, dubbed LynQ, was highlighted in Time magazine’s “Best Inventions of 2018.”
LynQ also earned Justin an invitation to speak about product design at Wear It!, a hardware festival and conference in Berlin. “At that talk I championed lo-fi prototyping—cardboard! hot glue! rubber bands!,” Justin says, “as the single most important catalyst for playfully exploring the human quality of interaction before getting mired in the specifics of a technological platform.” They credit their education at HVS as being foundational to this human-centered approach to creating new technology. “I’m so grateful for my Waldorf experience,” says Justin. “It has made me the most rare kind of technologist—a generalist. I’m simply interested in making good tools.”
Having studied filmmaking as an undergrad at Vassar, Justin came to product design as a result of coding work in multimedia projects. “After learning code, I wanted to be able to develop the underlying hardware. So I went back to school, enrolling in grad school at NYU to study interactive technology.”
Justin’s creative ideas are not limited to products, but also include artistic projects. In collaboration with their wife, Caitlin Kilroy, and sister, Dorna Lange, and underwritten by a $10,000 Burning Man honoraria art grant, Justin created “In Case: A Uke,” which whimsically re-imagined civic infrastructure that could address an individual’s internal experience, not just a community’s external needs. Taking the form of several classic red Emergency Call Boxes, each one was outfitted with ready-to-play, hand-painted ukuleles and installed at the Burning Man festival in 2017.
A resident of Bushwick, Brooklyn, Justin is a musician as well, having grown up with music instruction at HVS. Recently they wrote and recorded a lullaby, Goodnight, with singer/songwriter Ambyr D’Amato (on Spotify | iTunes | or free download).
Not surprisingly, Justin has more works in progress. Stay tuned.