Engineer and inventor Tim Hunkin is back with the second episode of his in-depth series celebrating the components used to build things. This time he turns his attention to light-emitting diodes, the now ubiquitous source of illumination that can be found in everything from televisions to cars to flashlights.
THE BEST Leds
There are plenty of bike helmets out there with illumination, but what makes the TorchONE different is that its lights can be detached for daytime riding, reducing weight. The curved front and rear light panels are also visible from the sides, and offer four modes. Available in Midnight Black, Gunmetal Grey, Neon Yellow, and Arctic White.
Adafruit Industries produces some really nifty components for making electronic gadgets. In this video, they show how their NeoPixel LED strips can be used with a one-way mirrored sheet, acrylic, and some 3D-printed bits to make an infinity mirror you can toss in your pocket. Build details and parts list here, and the source code is here.
There are lots of different ways to tell time, but if you’re looking for something a little different, check out the Timedrop, a slimline desk/wall clock from Mareike & Felix. It features three stacks of LEDs which represent hours, minutes, and seconds. As the day goes on, each column fills with light, resetting when it reaches the top.
rctestflight shows of a custom pickup that combines a 1960s Ford F-100 with a Dodge chassis and Cummins diesel drivetrain, and has what may be the brightest vehicle lighting ever. He built two versions – first with 40 100-watt LEDs, but decided it was too diffuse, so “downgraded” to just 18 units with parabolic reflectors.
Spectrum analyzers are a nifty way to visualize music. But maker Platinum Kit decided the displays that come with graphic equalizers were too small, so he built a jumbo version with colorful LEDs placed behind acrylic blocks. He reversed the lows and highs, but it’s still super cool.
SpellBrite LED signs are durable, reusable and energy efficient alternatives to neon signs. They’re extremely bright, are dimmable and modular. They can be hung, wall-mounted or placed on a flat surface. The red characters are already on sale, with blue, green and white ones incoming.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen a dance crew in lighted costumes, but Light Balance have taken it to a whole new level, with intricate designs and perfect coordination between body and light. No wonder their America’s Got Talent number won them the coveted Golden Buzzer.