When I wrote Coffee Table Doubles As Heliostat, Lighting Room, I suggested that "Perhaps it could use a little advanced technology to track the sun automatically."
Susan Labarre of Fast Company was stronger in her language:
File that under well-intentioned-but-yeah-*$&%ing-right.....So Pure Sun might find a customer base among greenies who'd make Al Gore look like Tony Hayward. For our money, though, it's too didactic -- and frankly requires too much work -- to attract a broader audience. But hey, it could always make for a nice side table.
Designer Dag Igland responded to the issue in an email:
Images credit Igland Design
Since there has been some confusion regarding the practicality of the Pure Sunlight table, and some people have been provoked by the simplicity of it, we feel obliged to issue this explanation to those writing about it. One thing commented upon is the absence of a sun-tracking system.
Such a system would complicate both the construction and the use of the table considerably. Construction-wise this would require two engines adjusting both axes of mirror movement, the sun-tracking device, and solar panels to power it all. Since the angle of the reflected light leaving the table is not constant in accordance to the plane of the table (unlike a solar well), but varies with different placement, ceiling height etc. the
mirror (mirror angle relative to tracker focus) would have to be adjusted every time the table was moved to another space or room. The spot where the reflected light hits does not have to be fixed, the light will travel across the room, only needing adjustment every few hours....
The table has also been billed as a lamp by some. As a lamp is defined as a device emitting, or something containing a device emitting artificial light, this is somewhat like calling a car a boat, and then start complaining when it sinks. This is a mirrored table, not the only one existing, but this one is adjustable, for practicality AND fun (provided you actually get out of your chair a few times a day:-)).
I might point out that GPS chips are really cheap now, and some skylights have solar tracking mechanisms complete with solar powered motors that cost under twenty bucks. But Dag makes some good points.