Lite Brite Graffitti
April 29, 2006 10:11 PM   Subscribe

Night Writer (embedded .mov). "The night writer extends the functionality of LED throwies by allowing a writer to catch a tag in lights. It’s cheap, easy to make and writes 12-inch glowing letters 25-feet in the air on any iron or steel surface." From the Graffitti Research Lab.
posted by zardoz (21 comments total)
That looks fun and mischievous and something I...huh...WOULDN'T do, yeah, nope, not me.
posted by alteredcarbon at 10:28 PM on April 29, 2006

Here's a link to a previous thread regarding another project of theirs, the LED Throwies.
posted by pwb503 at 10:34 PM on April 29, 2006

Previously (and with correctly spelled tags). Same granola loving tree-hugger comment applies...
posted by pkingdesign at 10:41 PM on April 29, 2006

Why don't they just throw in a small computer chip and maybe a wifi chip.

That way the sign could scroll/change message and might be remotely programmable.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 10:48 PM on April 29, 2006

The remotely programmable thing sounds cool. As it is - I like the idea but not how it was applied, which seems a little lame.
posted by xammerboy at 11:17 PM on April 29, 2006

Far be it from me to suggest that the signs could be used in political campaigns - or when icky people tied up traffic with their motorcades.
posted by Cranberry at 12:11 AM on April 30, 2006

I don't imagine it'd be very cheap to add in wifi and a controller, but it would be cool. It's probably not worth it for something that'll end up being removed and thrown away though.

Another thing that'd be neat is using a solar panel and a photovoltaic sensor to allow it to charge during the day and light up at night. If it's at all possible to do it cheaply, I'm sure someone will get around to it...
posted by omarr at 12:22 AM on April 30, 2006

Fuck LED Throwies!

Dude! A magnet, a battery, and an LED... stick a bunch of them to a wall all at once with a pole... OMG WALL HACK!

Approaching the lameness that was anagramed subway maps...
posted by blasdelf at 2:24 AM on April 30, 2006

I think they're pretty awesome. I'm sure I'd get some letters the wrong way round though..
posted by Drexen at 5:49 AM on April 30, 2006

I'm sure I'd get some letters the wrong way round though

Testing. Try it on a low wall, fix the problem letters, repeat until fixed. Then, once it is fixed, block the holes that don't get LEDs, and you'll have a tag that works.

Of course, this means you'll have a fixed tag, rather than being able to change on the fly, but if you're worried about looking all L33T, that's the way.

Now, if you want to do something like this, the way to reduce the costs is volume. An example -- an LED that costs $.62 in single pieces cost $.35 in 100 piece lots, and $.20 in 1000 piece lots.

For big orders, surplus sites often aren't as cheap as the regular component distributors, since they tend not to make up lots from bulk. When they do have large-lots to sell, it is because that's the way they got them, and they're willing to move the whole bag or reel of LEDs cheaper to keep from having to count them out. For really big orders -- 25K lots and above, the big distributors are the place to go.

Then again, sometimes you get lucky, like this bag of 200 bright red LEDs for $5.00, less than three cents an LED. No specs, though.
posted by eriko at 7:50 AM on April 30, 2006

"On average it takes about 50 throwies to write a four-letter word (Fig 3)."

Anyone got 50 throwies? I wanna write a four-letter word.
posted by Richard Daly at 8:37 AM on April 30, 2006

anything that involves something called "throwies" can stay on boing boing.
posted by blacklite at 8:41 AM on April 30, 2006

Again, like the last time, I'm disgusted at something that by its nature involves single-use, disposable, environmentally lethal materials that will inevitably be thrown into the garbage without being properly disposed of.

This is much worse because of the >100x multiplier (if it takes 50 throwies to write a four-letter word, it's gotta take over 100 to write "resistor").

Note also the poverty of the actual message, so characteristic of a lot of graffiti (but not all) -- this man has the ability to write any message he wants in glowing red letters that everyone will see, and what does he write? His tag, over and over.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:14 AM on April 30, 2006

Specs for above mentioned cheap LEDs mentioned by erico:

Power Dissipation - Pd - 100
Forward Current - IF - 50
Peak Forward Current - IFM - 300
Reverse Voltage - VR - 4
Operating Temp. - Topr - -30~+85
Storage Temp. - Tstg - -30~+100
Derating * - ΔIF - 0.67
posted by killThisKid at 10:59 AM on April 30, 2006

so where can you buy these little led bulbs in bulk?
posted by phaedon at 11:31 AM on April 30, 2006

Too bad they're so ephemeral - what if the throwies had a tiny photovoltaic cell to rechange 'em?
posted by foozleface at 12:11 PM on April 30, 2006

ekk. sorry, danke erico.
posted by phaedon at 3:37 PM on April 30, 2006

I don't mind the idea of throwies -- I like the idea of walking along the street and finding a couple glowing points of light that someone's left for me. I get the impression from throwies that the person left them there to make me happy when I see them.

But words? That turns it around completely. I'd get the impression that someone left them there to satisfy their own ego.
posted by mendel at 5:02 PM on April 30, 2006

i remember seeing cory get all hyper-bonerfied about this on boingboing a while ago.

how long do the led throwies live? i can't remember.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:08 PM on April 30, 2006

According to the website, about 2 weeks.

This strikes me as less graffiti and more performance art.
posted by jrochest at 12:46 AM on May 1, 2006

This strikes me as less graffiti and more performance art. strikes me as littering.
posted by quite unimportant at 9:38 AM on May 1, 2006

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