DIY fireflies
February 16, 2006 1:06 PM   Subscribe

LED Throwies (QT) A simple combination of lithium battery, diffused LED, strong magnet and a little tape. Developed by the Graffiti Research Lab division of the Eyebeam R&D OpenLab, full instructions are posted and take only a few minutes to follow.
posted by cali (53 comments total)
 
Entirely cool.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:11 PM on February 16, 2006


Sort of cool. The one thing I don't like is the prospect of having a whole bunch of lithium batteries a) littering the street and b) worse, breaking open and adding some nasty polition to the sewers. Not that I'm a crunchie granola loving tree-hugger, or anything.
posted by pkingdesign at 1:14 PM on February 16, 2006


Aren't rare-earth magnets kind of dangerous, too? I'd hate to see a kid get a hold of a couple of those and really hurt themselves.
posted by empath at 1:16 PM on February 16, 2006


That video was odd. It's become more common for advertising campaigns to look "less slick" and immitate the style of graffiti artists (like the sony psp ads), but this was video about a form of graffiti done in the style of a slick tv commercial.
posted by bobo123 at 1:17 PM on February 16, 2006


Very cool. Much more useful if you have a metal-sided crazy architecture art galleries like they have in Chelsea (as is shown in the movie...).
posted by zpousman at 1:17 PM on February 16, 2006


Litium batteries are actually pretty benign by battery standards.
posted by Western Infidels at 1:19 PM on February 16, 2006


not only cool, but really easy to make... good times ahead
posted by dontoine at 1:28 PM on February 16, 2006


Aren't rare-earth magnets kind of dangerous, too? I'd hate to see a kid get a hold of a couple of those and really hurt themselves.
posted by empath at 1:16 PM PST on February 16


Only if you swallow a couple and they bind your intestines together.

:)
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:34 PM on February 16, 2006


bobo123: "That video was odd. It's become more common for advertising campaigns to look "less slick" and immitate the style of graffiti artists (like the sony psp ads), but this was video about a form of graffiti done in the style of a slick tv commercial."

I didn't think it was slick at all. It was a guy with a digital video camera and the free video editing software it came with. And a copy of that song that I'm almost sick of.
posted by Plutor at 1:35 PM on February 16, 2006


Here's a cool page about rare earth magnets. The rest of the site is interesting, too.
posted by letitrain at 1:36 PM on February 16, 2006


I thought the video was rather odd as well...
Half of the interest in the end result is it's enigmatic quality, drawing questions from the viewer. What is that, how and why did it get there?

Watching all these people stand around chucking them at a wall kind of kills the magic.
posted by prostyle at 1:42 PM on February 16, 2006


Ahhh art neo-hippies and their narcissistic elitism... Look how magical you can make the world when you just spend some money.
posted by wfrgms at 1:43 PM on February 16, 2006


Nice video. The music's pretty cool, too: "The Knife" by the Heartbeats.
posted by darkstar at 1:43 PM on February 16, 2006


Sometimes is wonder if art is nothing more than not being afraid to do something stupid. I don't mean this in a good way.
posted by rhymer at 1:47 PM on February 16, 2006


Oooooooooh! Look at the pretty LITTER!
posted by MaxVonCretin at 1:47 PM on February 16, 2006


Correction: Music is Jose Gonzalez doing a cover of "Heatbeats" by The Knife.
posted by darkstar at 1:48 PM on February 16, 2006


Then what?
posted by redteam at 1:52 PM on February 16, 2006


posted by rhymer Sometimes is wonder if art is nothing more than not being afraid to do something stupid. I don't mean this in a good way.

Step 1: Dip testicles in paint, apply to canvas, allow to dry. .wmv file, NSFW
Step 2: List painting on eBay.
Step 3: Profit.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:58 PM on February 16, 2006


Actually in the light of what fandango matt has said, I'd like to modify that a bit. If someone else is even stupider and will pay you to be a fool then it's ok. It's a kind of imbeciles' relativism.
posted by rhymer at 2:00 PM on February 16, 2006


Ahhh art neo-hippies and their narcissistic elitism...

I hate hippies as much as the next guy, but can I assume from this comment that you think you're somehow better than they are? Interesting elitism double-whammy there.
posted by hypocritical ross at 2:01 PM on February 16, 2006


That was cool and nice. I'd also like to know the story behind the music, which sounds like it was played on a turntable.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:09 PM on February 16, 2006


Actually I don't feel too bad. I wouldn't dip my spuds in paint a hundred times for a mere $200.

Not sure about this elitism business: surely disliking elistism doesn't necessarily make you elitist. It's a bit like being prejudiced against prejudiced people, all very circular.
posted by rhymer at 2:12 PM on February 16, 2006


Am I the only person who thinks this would be a way-cooler dorm-room decoration than even Christmas lights?
posted by booksandlibretti at 2:12 PM on February 16, 2006


Entirely uncool in my book. A new way to pollute! Wasteful technological gadgets that work for a few minutes or a couple of hours and then become garbage.

Our grandchildren will see these videos and curse our names.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:29 PM on February 16, 2006


Neat little raver toys that I'm sure someone will do something amazing with. But I'd think about getting a solar panel in there and make them permanent.

But that's just me, I'm lazy and hate changing batteries or lightbulbs.
posted by fenriq at 2:35 PM on February 16, 2006


Isn't this just a take-off of the Sony Bravia ad?
posted by horsewithnoname at 2:41 PM on February 16, 2006


I love it...but doesn't $1.00 a pop seem kind of steep? Maybe I could epoxy some magnets to some fireflies. Cheaper - and it addresses the environmental angle of the the batteries!
posted by Occams Hammer at 2:43 PM on February 16, 2006


Am I the only person who thinks this would be a way-cooler dorm-room decoration than even Christmas lights?

only if your dorm room has steel walls.

"Alter your surroundings". Hey, let's go play mailbox baseball!!
posted by longsleeves at 2:46 PM on February 16, 2006


Someone reinvented christmas lights?
posted by HTuttle at 2:51 PM on February 16, 2006


The idea of painting with light is super cool.

The LED way is more easy to do than neon lights, but it will take a while before we can buy a "Light Painting" box at Toys R Us.
posted by bru at 2:58 PM on February 16, 2006


That was cool and nice. I'd also like to know the story behind the music, which sounds like it was played on a turntable.

Paris, follow that link to the Sony ad (which is achingly beautiful, by the way) and you'll find a link to a video of an interview with Jose Gonzalez, as he talks about the origin of the song and its use in the ad.

I seriously wouldn't mind so much advertisement on tv if they were all of this calibre.
posted by darkstar at 3:04 PM on February 16, 2006


Neat. I'm going to make some just to piss off lupus_yonderboy's grandchildren.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:50 PM on February 16, 2006


groaning about the frivolous waste and pollution bla bla bla

ditto.
graf culture + capitalist "innovation" = me am scared
posted by poweredbybeard at 3:52 PM on February 16, 2006


The idea of painting with light is super cool.

Sounds like something that asshole Thomas Kinkade would say. Technically he's the "Painter of Light", which is as rediculous as the "art" his team of flunkies produces.

Wow, sorry for the rant.
posted by pkingdesign at 3:52 PM on February 16, 2006


...but on the upside, i learned about ferrofluid today.

thanks, letitrain.
posted by poweredbybeard at 3:53 PM on February 16, 2006




Painter of Light
posted by Nelson at 4:13 PM on February 16, 2006


Oh I am SO thinking of uses at burning man... (please no snarking on BM)
posted by floanna at 4:33 PM on February 16, 2006


Stone filthy body-painted dirt hippy. Get a jorb.

*ponders LED MOOP, shrugs, figures it's better then sequins and feather boas*
posted by loquacious at 4:43 PM on February 16, 2006


you could probably have a couple thousand prototyped out of a hongkong factory cheaper. you would just need to pretend you were interested in buying a hundred thousand
posted by Megafly at 4:49 PM on February 16, 2006


a few minutes or a couple of hours

I figure more like a few weeks.
posted by mendel at 5:03 PM on February 16, 2006


bru: painting with light, at Toys R Us!
posted by mendel at 5:09 PM on February 16, 2006


I've been making these for several years now, mostly in showing them to various and sundry small children. The best variation is a blinking LED. The construction is so simple that the child can make the thing (I always called them fireflies) by themselves and hang them almost anywhere. I demonstrate how to do it, provide them with the raw materials for a dozen or so, and let them have at it. Everything except the battery (and maybe the tape) is reusable.

I get around the battery/pollution thing by demanding that the kids bring me the old batteries before I give them any new ones.
posted by forrest at 5:27 PM on February 16, 2006


Cool. I would love my business to be targeted by that sort of "pollution"/Art. Sign me up.
posted by tkchrist at 5:57 PM on February 16, 2006


pkingdesign, Nelson:
Kinkade!
Hahaha. The horror... the horror...

mendel: ultra cute. The kids who play with this today will make subway light graffiti in 10 years and giant murals modified in real time by cell phones for the Moma 5 years later.
posted by bru at 7:45 PM on February 16, 2006


A)Most Art becomes garbage. That's why the stuff that doesn't is valuable.

B)Forming a creative idea and bringing that idea into the world is a great deal harder than criticizing that idea or its execution. That's why Art Criticism doesn't hang on gallery walls, in alleyways or adorn huge public spaces. Also, no art critic ever had a ninja turtle named after them.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 7:49 PM on February 16, 2006


Well I got back from the local seedy gadget shop and made a few of the things. It wasn't quite the magical, uplifting experience I thought it would be. For starters I tried throwing them at my fridge and while they did stick the majority of the time, it would make a loud "clang" sound each time. I'd imagine throwing a bunch of these at a building would be horrible sounding and give people inside the impression they were being attacked.

And I was thinking, I'd love to toss some of these at a tank for some reason. It would be interesting if these could be made to stick to anything, like riot police or an embassy.

And, remembering Christo, it's all fun and magical until someone is hurt or horribly killed.
posted by bobo123 at 8:02 PM on February 16, 2006


Darkstar - thanks for info on the music, I was hoping somebody knew.
posted by selfmedicating at 8:07 PM on February 16, 2006


sure thing, selfmed!

bobo123, I'm not sure that throwing something at a tank that makes it sound like they're being attacked would be a very healthy art form!

This actually has got me wondering, and maybe the more technically apt among you can tell me: rather than an LED, what would be the technical possibility of making a similar, very simple, RFID broadcaster?

I'm wondering if one of these little buggers could be adapted to be a low-tech, low-cost rfid thing, so that if you had an rfid detector, within some given range, you'd be able to detect the presence of...oh, I don't know...someone carrying one...

Forgive me, I'm totally clueless on electronics. My degrees are in Chemistry. :)
posted by darkstar at 6:57 AM on February 17, 2006


Actually, the wiki on this addresses a lot of what I was wondering.

Now I'm just wondering how practical it would be...
posted by darkstar at 7:00 AM on February 17, 2006


It's very pretty, and so was the superball ad (thanks for relinking that, horsewithnoname; I'd never gotten around to watching it). Two of the nicest things I've seen today.

I'm not comfortable with the littery nature of either piece, but I gather at least the superballs got a good cleanup (though I cannot imagine how). I'd be happier if the throwies got cleaned up in a day or two as well. You know, I despise light pollution, but I thought the towers of light memorial in lower Manhattan was both beautiful and moving. Our aesthetics can be hard to reconcile with our ideals.
posted by Songdog at 10:57 AM on February 17, 2006


SinisterPurpose writes "Also, no art critic ever had a ninja turtle named after them."

Maybe, but two critics had muppets made of them.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:58 PM on February 17, 2006


I contend that these are better DIY Fireflies.
posted by Monochrome at 9:49 PM on February 18, 2006


« Older The Forgotten War?   |   Supplemental catfight Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments