Posts

A DIY LED VU-Meter Necktie!

led-ampli-tie-adafruit

I am never, ever disappointed by Make.  Not in seven years of doing this blog have I ever come across a story on Make that wasn’t the coolest thing I had ever seen, and I read somewhere in the neighborhood of eleventy million blog posts a week.  Well, it might be more in the tennedy million range, but you get the point.  Make is wicked.

Check this out — Maker and awesome duderino Collin Cunningham is sporting a cool LED tie in this video, which also consequently shows you how to make the tie!  It’s a breakaway tie that is modeled on the prison guard-style of tie, velcro in the rear of the neck; there’s also a microphone in the knot that feeds back into the LED controller, giving you a walking VU Meter!  As you can imagine if you know me, mine would be peaked all day long.  This system is built on Adafruit‘s wearable electronics platform called FLORA — from the website:

FLORA is Adafruit’s wearable electronics platform. We designed it from the ground up to provide the best experience for Adafruit’s community of makers, hackers, crafters, artists, designers and engineers. It’s built around the Atmega32u4 chip, which has built-in USB support. No pesky special cables or extra parts for programming, just plug it in and get started making the wearables project of your dreams! Works on Windows and Mac.

The FLORA is extremely beginner-friendly– it is difficult to destroy the FLORA by connecting a battery backwards due to polarized connector and protection diodes. The onboard regulator means that even connecting a 9V battery will not result in damage or tears.

The Ampli-Tie!

This FLORA device is pretty cool!  If you’re a tinkerer like me who loves to solder stuff and blow up all kinds of delicate circuitry because you are an occasional dumbass, this thing is the way to go, with its onboard voltage regulator!  Check this out:

This entire project is pretty much given to the world free at Adafruit’s website (the Adafruit Learning System, which is pretty awesome!); you can make your own Ampli-Tie to wear around the conferences!  Go check out Make, one of the coolest places for nerds on Planet Earth!

Infra, A TV Built from Remote Controls from TVs

infra-chris-shen

All of the remotes in the world that wind up getting lost in couches and/or accidentally stuck in the refrigerator are all cheering right now, mostly because Chris Shen has turned the tables for them. Meet Chris Shen‘s installation called Infra, which is composed of 625 re-purposed remote controls hooked into a Peggy and made to broadcast low-res live TV, albeit in infrared:

INFRA by Chris Shen from Chris Shen on Vimeo.

625 discarded remote controls, repurposed to broadcast live television using the infrared LEDs inside each device. Creating an infrared display invisible to the naked eye. When viewed through infrared goggles, the light becomes visible and the low resolution TV broadcast can be seen.

A TV made from remote controls.

Exhibited at 18 Hewett Street, London – January 2013
More info: http://chrisshen.net/infra

infra-side-view

Awesome. The also equally awesome compadres over at Evil Mad Scientist Labs also got Chris to talk a bit about how he made everything work — which these guys are really, really, really good at doing! Chris Shen used a modified Peggy 2 from the Evil Mad Scientists’ Lab — the Peggy 2 is a pegboard-kind of system that can drive 625 LEDs into a display. Chris modified his Peggy 2 with Molex connectors and then again on each remote so they could be plugged directly into the Peggy 2.

infra-molex-plugs

infra-molex-detail

I love being a nerd.  We are inheriting the Earth.

infra-remotes

Something extra cool — an interview with Chris about Infra at Post New.

White & White LED Clock? Black & White LED Clock? Both, Thanks to Vadim Kibardin!

I saw initially one of the two models (White & White LED Clock) and thought to myself…  “Self, doesn’t it seem weird that the letters don’t have a black background for those days when the board room is bathed in sunlight?”  Frankly I’m always just glad that I never hear myself answer back, so I’m just going with that theory as the guiding principle of the day — don’t ask yourself questions that you don’t want yourself to answer, uh, yourself.  Yeah.  Along those lines.

These two fixtures are the work of Vadim Kibardin and his studio.  Vadim is a designer that will change the world.  Bold statement?  Nah, I’m pretty sure that other people agree with me, too!

Here’s Black & White:

black+white-clock

and here’s White & White, the all magenta version of the fixture.  I kid, OF COURSE I mean CONGO BLUE!

white-white-clocke2

white-white-clock6

white-white-clock5

white-white-clock

Very awesome.  Thanks to Vadim for his brain, and thanks to his studio website for the images!  Both of the clocks run around $220, and are manufactured in China.  There is a heck of a lot of beautiful work in Vadim’s shop, he is truly a mast.  I highly recommend checking him out!

vadim-kibardin-facts

Photos from LDI 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada

JimOnLight with tieline dredlocks.  Oh yeah, and Kung-Fu Action Grip:

I’m back at the helm in Toronto; LDI 2012 has come and gone, I got to see lots of really amazing people, and I got blinded by not one, not seven, but eleventy (yeah, eleventy) freaking LED sources and screens.  It was so refreshing to see a tungsten or an HMI source around the convention center just as a reference to something that has more than one wavelength in a row together.  Holy schmoly!

LDI was full of pretty striking stuff, from lasers and salvo systems to new gobos and moving moving light systems, which was pretty awesome!  Now obviously seeing photos is a lot less ridiculous than reading me talk about photos, so check this out below — a ton of photos from LDI and the show floor!

This is what I made for the BlackTrax guys to go do their magic, which they do very well.  BlackTrax is out and on the market.  If you were at the show, you saw the demo up in N256 at the LVCC:

BlackTrax from CAST Group -- Room N256

The BT guys calibrating the system.  They have it down to about five minutes.

LDI-2012-jimonlight-3

Ladies and gentlemen:  The HOG 4.

Hog 4

The High End Systems booth:

stabbing beams at the HES Booth

DMX controlled AirStar balloons!  Awesome!

AirStar at LDI 2012

This was next to us on the show floor — VER’s “upside-down-porno-bedroom-ceiling” thing.  Oh, f*cking hell it was amazing.  I mean absolutely amazing.  I was so proud to be in the view of this booth with my CAST booth, it was absolutely awe inspiring.  I’ll figure out the model of the beautiful equipment being displayed here, but believe me when I say it deserved the award for Best Product Display that it won:

VER at LDI 2012

InLight Gobos!!!  Oh, I have to report that some real winner stole a glass gobo from the InLight Gobos booth, over next to the High End booth.  It was set up on the table, Adri bent down to attend to something in a bag on the floor, and *poof* it was gone.  If you read this blog and you took that gobo, it means that you had an absolute error in judgement.  Mail that thing back to InLight Gobos, 2348 Irving Blvd, Dallas, TX 75207 — be a good human.  Write “I’m Sorry” on the back of the package, too.  It sucks they had to deal with that.

On a lighter note, hey lighting designers — you ever used the rubber band ball gobo from InLight?  That thing is a breakup, an aerial, a wash, and a great atmospheric look maker too.  Every color of the spectrum gives it new characteristics.  Trust me, try it.  You can try it in wysiwyg R29 now too, thanks to Rick and Adri at InLight and Peter Debreceni at CAST for getting the catalogue into the release.  People at LDI who use WYG really seem to dig the InLight lineup — I believe in it, so I figured why not spread the good art word?

InLight Gobos at LDI 2012

There is this guy I know named Peter Kirkup, and he is absolutely one of my favorite people on planet Earth; not because of his ridiculously polite bedside manner, but because he is an industry visionary that has been right since I’ve known him.  I call that a feat in itself; I look to Peter for answers on anything regarding wireless what-have-you, and Peter is now the Vice President of Entertainment for LumenRadio in Sweden.  You might know hime from Cooper Controls and Zero88 fame, when he was just a lowly Product Manager.  Dude, remember — köttbullar i Sverige är inte svenska köttbullar, de är bara köttbullar!

Seriously though, we need to listen to peter’s brain, lighting industry.  He explained something to me that was so amazing, so ingenius as I see it – that I just had to hear him explain it again.  More on that later.  Peter’s a genius.  Ladies, grab him before he’s off the market, Peter’s like the John Holmes of brain power.

Peter Kirkup, VP of Entertainment at LumenRadio

Mac Viper Profile.  I have to say that I am impressed — I spent a lot of my time on shows working with a lot of Martin gear, lots of Mac 2K profiles and washes as you can imagine, Performance versus Profiles was always an argument you had to have in your head when making up a shop order.  “Do I want the FX ribbon, and are framing shutters that important for this one?”  I have no apologies for rocking the living daylights out of Mac 2000 Profiles.  They are absolutely awesome fixtures, despite what your opinions are on it.  I’ve had them apart on the truss while in a basket too, for the bang, they are perfect fixtures.  It looks like the Viper is going to be exactly the same way, and I am so absolutely excited to get my hands on some.  As it was put to me, the Viper is the “Mac 2000 replacement for this decade.”  It is awesome.  Ooh, so is the Mac III AirFX too, just as a side note.

MAC Viper

Oh hey look, another Chinese copy of a Sharpy.

COPY

POINT OF ORDER:  The handles on the VL3515 are very cool.  I yanked around on them quite a bit while I was standing there (perhaps much to the dismay of the guy who I met right there at that point), and they seemed solid and non-conforming.

I LOVE these new handles!

VL3015

What a beautiful booth!

Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC) at LDI 2012

Me and Susan Rose!  Yes, this Susan Rose.  This guide got me through the teething gigs of the Hog II!

JimOnLight and Susan Rose

Philips Entertainment at LDI 2012

THIS IS EXCELLENT.  The V276 is now available as a piece of gear for sale!  It works on your MAC!  Also, the BAD BOY and BEST BOY are available for SALE!  I think that they are two of the best fixtures built in the last five years, and I really do hope to see them explode in popularity.  They’re solid.  No matter what you think of PRG – whether you’re a fan or a non-fan – Bad Boy and Best Boy rock.  Now there is the V276 on MAC, which allows you the use of the pretty slick V-Series software.  You can run MBOX on this panel, too!  Miguel Ribeiro showed me some amazing things at LDI about MBOX, I am pretty excited to check it out.

the V276 from PRG

The Clay Paky booth at LDI — oh the Sharpys!

Clay Paky, LDI 2012

DTS’s continuously panning beam fixtures.  You have to see these things to believe it, they are poppy and bright, punchy and presentable.  Their booth was one of my faves, designed by a cool LD from Europe, Georg Telos.  Great work, Georg!

DTS/Strong, LDI 2012

The rest of the photos I took at LDI are below in a few different types of Flickr galleries, check out which one works best for you!  Let me know if one or the other floats your boat better than, uh, the other.  Just leave a comment.

Another Flickr show:

H2WHOA

Ok… WOW!

Yeah. I could watch that gif all day. Implying that I haven’t been watching it all day, right? Riiiiight… *shifty eyes*

So what is this amazing thing? It’s Water Light Graffiti, a project by Antonin Fourneau with Jordan McRae and Guillaume Stagnaro. There were graffiti performances by Collectif Painthouse and the project was made at the ArtLab. Anyway, words fail… check it out! Thanks to the fabulous Fox for sharing this. Especially the video at the end of the post:

Nieuwe Heren’s Aegis Parka Warns You about Pollution with Light

Dutch designers Nieuwe Heren make another appearance on JimOnLight.com!  You might remember them from their very cool Deconstructed Floodlight about a year ago.

Meet the Aegis Parka — a jacket that lights up to warn you about polluted areas in real time.  It reminds me of the movie Cherry 2000 and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome all rolled into one crazy looking piece of clothing:

It detects toxins in the air, offers oxygen, and features a very durable ceramic scaly fabric that is supposed to be pretty tough.  From the Nieuwe Heren website on the Aegis Parka:

Aegis: as stated in the Iliad, is the shield of Zeus, possessing great powers, forged by Hephaestus with a surface of gold like scaly snake-skin.

With Urban pollution growing out of hand, and lifespans diminishing due to airborne pollutants we felt the urge to design a jacket that counters those effects.

A sensor in the parka registers hazardous molecules and signals you of the intensity. The more Led’s illuminated the worse the air quality. A built in respirator with an active carbon filter helps you inhale fresh air.

Biking/walking through the city wearing this garment even contributes to the air quality, as the suit is treated with a TiO2 (titaniumdioxide) solution, which cleanses the air due to it’s photocatalystic properties.

The garment is created from schoeller®-Ceraspace™, a scaly fabric created out of ceramic particles, making it far more abrasion and heat resistant then leather.

The inner lining consists of schoeller®-PCM™ a special textile containing millions of microcapsules filled with Phase Change Materials (PCM). They balance out temperatures which are too high or too low to achieve the wearer’s personal comfort climate.

Very cool!  Welcome back to JimOnLight, Nieuwe Heren!

Thanks to Geek, Stuff, and DesignBoom!

Pay As You Go Solar in South Kenya

I saw an interesting article this weekend from CNN World’s website.  A company called Eight19 has created a pay-as-you-go solar technology called IndiGo that is being deployed right now in Kenya.  Check this out, this is Simon Bransfield Garth, the CEO of Eight19.  I knew I would like this company as soon as I realized what “Eight19″ meant – it’s the time that a ray of light from the sun reaches Earth.  Here’s Simon:

Here now is a quick video of a man named Samuel talking about the benefits of his Pay-As-You-Go Solar installation:

This is some pretty cool stuff.  The solar technology that Eight19 prides themselves on is a low-manufacturing-cost solar cell printed on a plastic film.  The reason that they can have products that are so low cost is that the printing method benefits from being able to use the high-speed roll printing technology that exists in the solar printing industry.  From the Eight19 website on the benefits of printed solar technology:

So, when the customer purchases the IndiGo package for installation, they get an Eight19 solar panel that connects into the IndiGo device.  The gist of the system is this:  without the customer “topping up” their IndiGo device via their cell phone, the device doesn’t charge the battery inside the device.  From the IndiGo website:

IndiGo is an affordable solar lighting and battery charging system that brings low cost energy to off-grid communities. With IndiGo, users put credit on their solar cell, just as they would on a mobile phone. Power from the cell then charges the  battery in the IndiGo box, making electricity available for lighting or charging other devices, such as mobile phones. The top-up codes are sent securely to owners’ mobile phones as text messages. Without the codes, the system does not generate electricity.  The IndiGo 2.5W solar home lighting and charging system includes: A solar panel and IndiGo box with a charge controller and battery; an LED lamp; an adapter lead for most popular mobile phones; connecting cables; and two, one-day top-up cards.

For most Americans who haven’t been overseas or in Canada, with pre-paid cell phones, you buy minutes on what’s commonly called a Top-Up card.  No different than the ones in the USA, they’re based on minutes, all that.

So the idea here is that people in South Kenya will not have to use kerosene lamps inside their places at night to do what they have to do needing illumination.  This is a tremendous thing; one of the biggest increases of our technological development has been increasing the CRI of the light we use to do things like read and develop.  With this implementation, the people in South Kenya will be getting  some seriously higher CRI than kerosene-powered sources.  This cannot be a bad thing, right?  Hell no.  People that live in kenya are no different than people who go to Yale.  They have the same potential as all of the rest of us, especially when given the opportunity to grow with the rest of the world.  No matter where you grow up, as long as you are given the opportunity to develop, you will succeed, especially if you apply yourself.

Something that I found interesting was found in the comments of the excellent CleanTechnica article on the IndiGo system.  A user named Bob_Wallace (THE Bob Wallace? Or the Shareware guy? I kid, I have no idea) posted some email exchanges he had with Simon from Eight19.  The bolded markings are things I’d like you to pay close attention to in the paragraph:

“The cost and payoff time varies a little by country as you would expect (for example there are variations in transport costs, distribution costs and local taxes between locations). In Kenya the weekly fee is 100KSH (approx $1.10) for our “duo” product with 2 lights and phone charging.

After a period of time, the product is deemed to be paid up and the customer has the option to buy the product out for a small fee or upgrade to a larger system. Again, this period varies a little between country but is normally between 18 and 24 months.

Our initial estimates suggest that typical users save in excess of $2/week with the kerosene and phone charging costs they save, with some users saving much more than this.”

In reply to a question about how upgrades work…

“People return the old system and get a new one (with the exception of the lights/wiring unless it needs replacement, as it is pointless to take down old one only to put the same thing back). We then refurbish and reintroduce the old systems. The weekly fee for the new larger systems takes into account the fact that we have recovered some value from the old system so they pay less than if we had to cover the full cost of the new system.”

Rough math says that Eight19 is able to get people in ownership of a basic lighting/phone charging system for somewhere just above $100US.

($1.10 x 52 weeks x 2 years = $114.40)

After two years they should have free power for a few years. The battery will need to be replaced after a few years and the LEDs after several. The panel should last a lifetime or more.

This is something to check out – basically a person using the IndiGo system uses it for about two years before they’ve paid it off, at the tune of about $114.40 USD.  The figure is for their “duo” product with two lights and a phone charger that has several charger tips for different phones.  After two years they have a few years of free solar electricity conversion.  Now granted it’s only at about two watts, but it’s free where before they’d have to pay to get kerosene to charge their stuff and see in the dark.  I think this is a pretty cool idea, as does the organization SolarAid, who has partnered with Eight19 to do this project in South Kenya.  From the SolarAid press release on the subject:

Thanks to the work of SolarAid and other players in the sector over the last few years, solar lights and phone chargers have been available for some time across Africa, but the initial cost is beyond the reach of many potential customers. By offering solar power as a service, without high purchase costs, these customers can now access clean electricity for less than their current spend on kerosene. But more than this, the availability of affordable electricity stimulates social and economic development too.

I think this is a pretty cool thing that’s happening.  When you think of the costs though, I think you should just remember that the Kenyans aren’t paying in USD.  One Kenyan Shilling (KES) is worth about 1.2 pennies USD.  Consider that when you consider the cost.  For example, right now a watt of solar if you just buy the photovoltaic panel is between $2.19 USD/W (for a 60W panel) up to $5.44 USD/W (for a 130W panel).  With the rest of the gear you’ll have to buy (cables, batteries, control), you’re looking at about $8.00 USD per watt of generated electricity.  I mean, come on though – after about the first six months, collecting solar using a device and a PV panel rather than taking it from a grid situation is going to pay for itself.  The sun is free, kids.  When some company or some government starts saying hey dummies!  we’re going to charge you for solar power by making you pay us for collecting it, then I am going to freak out and be really loud about it to the world, and then the world needs to kick some corporate or government tail.  Right now, no matter where you are, you’re paying for the devices that help you collect and store electricity, not for the solar energy itself  A lot of people make cracks online about how “solar should be free,” and they are totally right.  There is nothing that stops you from inventing your own solar collecting system for your own usage; money perhaps, but as long as we’re Capitalists, money will always be an issue.  Eight19 is a company, and they’re doing what a company does, and their particular skill is making and selling solar power collecting systems.  The power companies have done the same thing essentially, you’re just paying for them to make the power, and using their lines for them to get it to you.  In the US, we pay for this power from them by the kilowatt-hour, at an average of $0.118 per 1000W/h.

What do you think?  Do the costs add up?  The prices in Kenya are about comparable to American prices according to Numbeo, if not maybe a bit cheaper overall on average.

Thanks to USEIA, IndiGo Off-the-Grid, The Times, Triple Pundit, and Numbeo!

Switch Lighting’s New Liquid-Cooled LED A-Lamps?

Now, I know what you’re thinking – well, unless it’s hey, I wonder where I put the remote

Switch Lighting has come out with an absolutely beautiful series of lamps that are being tested right now in “several distinct hospitality properties.”  This thing is absolutely beautiful, as are Switch Lighting’s other LED A-lamp designs, holy crap – it’s got panache, it’s got beautiful design, and this cooling liquid inside the dome with the LEDs.  Oh, just check it out – this particular flavor of Switch lamp is the Switch75 (which is a 75W LED lamp, of course, and you can tell from its blue collar!)

Ok, this thing is pretty beautiful, to be sure!  I love the design; just alone, the design is fairly similar to most of the LED A-lamp replacements out there with regards to form.  Heat sink on the bottom, LED dome and some kind of diffuser or magnifier on top, but this one just looks different.  I love how the heat sink continues up into the LED dome, which is filled with a liquid of some sort – I am guessing a mineral oil or some kind of paraffin oil, possibly?  We’ll find out when Switch makes that public!  Something to note is how the LED structure wraps around and attaches to the heat sink – it’s almost as if they used such little material to get the most efficient heat dissipation possible.  If you work with LEDs, you know that heat that they generate is an enemy of their output and life.

More beautiful photos:

Here’s the Switch60 – you can tell it’s 60W because it’s got a red collar:

That thing is just sexy, there are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.  I originally saw this post at a great blog called Jetson Green – and I remembered that, wait a minute, somebody tried this before, I wrote about it!  Now, all things aside, the Switch Lighting lamps and the one I wrote about in 2009 are completely different lamps in every regard.  Check it out – this is the EternaLEDs Hydralux-4 liquid-cooled LED lamp.  It’s only 25W, it’s MUCH different than the Switch lamps, and it’s sitting now in my big box o’ lamps:

It’s just a different lamp, completely – fully glass, the liquid is similar to paraffin oil, and there is no heat sink.  It has a frosted top diffuser either formed or blasted into the envelope of the lamp around the LED element.  The only differences are the liquid and the LED parts, really, but I think it is important to see an early version of the liquid-cooled LED technology.  These lamps are no longer offered at EternaLEDs; I did find an old blog post of theirs though that talks a bit about the old Hydralux-4.  It was also featured in a 2009 issue of Popular Mechanics as one of the Top 12 Must-Have Products.  Crazy, huh?

I for one am pretty excited to see how Switch does liquid-cooled LED lamps.  The nerd in me wants to know info on output and efficacy!  Here’s where I kick and scream and beat my fists until no one gives me the info I need.