Leif Maginnis Makes Ultraviolet Light and Spinning Things Into Magic Mind, uh, Intercourse


Leif Maginnis had an idea that he turned into what I’m calling THE coolest interactive thing I’ve seen in 2014 so far.  So simple and so visually confusing and pleasing — meet the Art Strobe:

Oh yeah, and if that wasn’t enough to shake loose the little bits of acid from back in your 1970’s days, here’s some more:

ArtStrobe Interactive Light Art from leif maginnis on Vimeo.

It’s probably best to let Leif describe this one:

The ArtStrobe is interactive, kinetic light art. It works by spinning an object that has fluorescent-colored patterns on it. Ultraviolet strobe lights are aimed at it and rings of bright fluorescent patterns emerge, transform in color and move in and out of focus. The user can change these patterns by turning two knobs mounted near the ArtStrobe.

Ok, I can dig it.  So for those of you who won’t watch the longer video, even though the awesome quotient is about 437, Leif spins something that has some fluorescing paint on it and then strobes blacklight at it.  the results are eye-gasmic.

Leif, you sir are awesome!  By the way, Leif’s also kind of a bad ass prop master and designer — Check out his Cat Designs website, he’s got all kinds of broadcast design work on there!


Back Camera

pipel2I have Tobin to thank for this.  Thank you, Tobin!

This comes from DesignBoom’s DIY Submission Series, which is pretty freaking cool full time!  All images (C) Leif Maginnis


Tempera Blacklight Paint for Next Week’s Rave?


I was searching around in the hotel room a few nights ago instead of sleeping, and I saw an article about some really cool (and considerably cheap) multiple color blacklight tempera paints!  These things are fairly vibrant; honestly, there are a lot of installations and projects on the smaller scale that could benefit from something like this considering its price and ultraviolet luminance.

I have this dream where I light a white room that is covered in multiple colors of blacklight paints, but the room is white when I walk in.  As I step to the console, the room goes dark, and I am shown an RGB view of the room, then a CMY view of the room, and then the console lights up and I have to play an enormous game of Simon.  It’s one of my favorite dreams!  Funny enough, every time I play the dream the sequence is different.  I am totally going to make that a design someday, and I’m gonna throw some Bad Boys in there, and have a huge rave.

I’m still the most enormous fan of Wildfire ultraviolet fluorescing paints — I did a parade a few Halloweens ago and used a ton of it, and lit a few pieces of dance that had a very intense Wildfire paint design (with some high output UV sources, of course) that was kinda mindblowing – moving images in real-time with one of the multi-dancer Bodhisattva routine and wildfire paint.  If I only had the foresight to ask a grad student for a camera at the time – and if I only had the hindsight to solve all of the world’s problems…



But this, my friends, is Wildfire paint:



Thanks to Wildfire’s blog, The Blacklight Blaze for the image above the video, and DirectGlow for the images of the paint!

California Bans Underage Tanning Bed Use

You know, it’s kind of amazing to me that we need a law that says “HEY STUPID, DON’T DO THAT.”  You know, with anything though – toasters in the bath tub, hair dryers out in the yard in the sprinkler, and eating rat poison.  These things typically lead to instant death and destruction.  But WHY IS IT that, even after a study in 2010 that said, OUT LOUD, that people who use tanning beds are at least three IF NOT FOUR times more likely to develop melanoma.

Doctors believe melanoma is a cancer caused by altering the DNA of cells by some kind of light, most believe the UV spectrum is to blame.  I mean, we use UV-C to clean things – when UV-C is applied to a surface, it doesn’t necessarily kill the germs and nasties, but it cripples them in such a way that they die anyway from having their DNA destroyed.  So, one would assume that, given the circumstances of this idea of a tanning bed using ultraviolet light to essentially put a nice golden crust on our skin would be a poor idea.  Right?  Here’s a picture of Kirstie McRae, a 14-year old two years ago who got 70% burned from overexposure in a tanning bed.  This kind of picture has GOT to stop people, right?

Oh, contrare, mo frere.  Regardless of the fact that you can get more than your share of tanning-able light by being outside, our vanity has suggested that we now must have a law to stop children from using tanning machines.  In California, a law has been passed to make it illegal for a business to allow someone under 18 to use a tanning bed.  From an article at Huffington Post:

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he had signed into law a bill that prevents children under 18 from using the popular tanning method. The law takes effect Jan. 1.

Although Texas has banned the use of tanning beds for children under 16, SB746 bill makes California the first state to set a higher age limit. Thirty other states also have some age restrictions on the use, said the bill’s author, state Sen. Ted Lieu.

Under current law, children 14 and under in California already cannot use the beds, but those ages 15 to 17 can do so with permission from their parents. Illinois, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island have considered an age limit similar to California’s, but have yet to enact them, said the Democrat from Torrance, Calif.

The ban will hurt businesses, many of them owned by women, said the Indoor Tanning Association. About 5 percent to 10 percent of its members’ customers are under 18, the industry group noted.

I’m particularly interested in this comment, which talks about the societal pressures of tanning, which kind of makes me vomit in my mouth a wee bit:

“Girls in affluent California communities especially are surrounded by the message that being tanned all year round is cool,” Christina Clarke, of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, said in a recent statement supporting Lieu’s bill. “Pop music star Katy Perry is even singing about it.”

Ah, vanity.  We all have some degree of it.  But this has to be said, and please – men and women both – you have got to know.  We cover up ourselves all year round, some of us wear pants, some wear shirts, but for the most part, we hide a lot of our bodies from light.  When you decide to put on a swim suit and hit the beach, it’s perfectly okay that you’re white and pale, the human body is a beautiful thing.  Vanity isn’t worth the three or four times risk of developing melanoma.  Do you know what melanoma is?  Have you ever seen some images of it?  Here, let me help you!  I went to the National Library of Medicine to find some good ones for you!

So, this melanoma thing, it’s pretty nasty.  Tanning beds increase your risk of melanoma by three to four times.  Melanoma is the most fatal form of skin cancer, and it is the leading cause of death from skin cancer.  Tanning beds increase your risk of fatal cancer by three to four times.  How else can I put this?

From the Public Med Health website:

Melanoma is caused by changes in cells called melanocytes, which produce a skin pigment called melanin. Melanin is responsible for skin and hair color. It can appear on normal skin, or it may begin as a mole or other area that has changed in appearance. Some moles that are present at birth may develop into melanomas.

There are four major types of melanoma:

  • Superficial spreading melanoma is the most common type. It is usually flat and irregular in shape and color, with different shades of black and brown. It is most common in Caucasians.
  • Nodular melanoma usually starts as a raised area that is dark blackish-blue or bluish-red. However, some do not have any color.
  • Lentigo maligna melanoma usually occurs in the elderly. It is most common in sun-damaged skin on the face, neck, and arms. The abnormal skin areas are usually large, flat, and tan with areas of brown.
  • Acral lentiginous melanoma is the least common form. It usually occurs on the palms, soles, or under the nails and is more common in African Americans.

Rarely, melanomas appear in the mouth, iris of the eye, or retina at the back of the eye. They may be found during dental or eye examinations. Although very rare, melanoma can also develop in the vagina, esophagus, anus, urinary tract, and small intestine.

Melanoma is not as common as other types of skin cancer. However, the rate of melanoma is steadily increasing.

The risk of developing melanoma increases with age. However, it is also frequently seen in young people.

You are more likely to develop melanoma if you:

  • Have fair skin, blue or green eyes, or red or blond hair
  • Live in sunny climates or at high altitudes
  • Spent a lot of time in high levels of strong sunlight, because of a job or other activities
  • Have had one or more blistering sunburns during childhood
  • Use tanning devices

Other risk factors include:

  • Close relatives with a history of melanoma
  • Coming in contact with cancer-causing chemicals such as arsenic, coal tar, and creosote
  • Certain types of moles (atypical dysplastic) or multiple birthmarks
  • Weakened immune system due to disease or medication

Gross.  Why would you voluntarily put yourself through this knowing the risk associated?!

Got any weird looking moles after prolonged sunbathing or tanning bed exposure?  Doctors are going to use the ABCDE method of examining your trouble spots, so you should know it too:

Often the first sign of melanoma is a change in the shape, color, size, or feel of an existing mole. Melanoma may also appear as a new mole. Thinking of “ABCDE” can help you remember what to look for:

  • Asymmetry: The shape of one half does not match the other half.
  • Border that is irregular: The edges are often ragged, notched, or blurred in outline. The pigment may spread into the surrounding skin.
  • Color that is uneven: Shades of black, brown, and tan may be present. Areas of white, gray, red, pink, or blue may also be seen.
  • Diameter: There is a change in size, usually an increase. Melanomas can be tiny, but most are larger than the size of a pea (larger than 6 millimeters or about 1/4 inch).
  • Evolving: The mole has changed over the past few weeks or months.

Melanomas can vary greatly in how they look. Many show all of the ABCDE features. However, some may show changes or abnormal areas in only one or two of the ABCDE features.

In more advanced melanoma, the texture of the mole may change. The skin on the surface may break down and look scraped. It may become hard or lumpy. The surface may ooze or bleed. Sometimes the melanoma is itchy, tender, or painful.

Happy Monday, everybody!

Thanks to Telegraph, WebMD,  and the American Cancer Society.

An Interesting Problem – Surface Color Variations

A member of the Community, Cameron Ware (also known as @VisualWorshiper on Twitter) encountered a pretty interesting problem this weekend while lighting a gig.  Check out this video:

My guess is that one of two things has happened – either a UV field has somehow made its way into the beam, or that surface has something about it that surface being illuminated is reflecting that crazy UV tint. What do you think? Please leave a comment in the Comment section below, let’s solve this problem together!

Enter The Ultraviolet Ninja

That sounds like an excellent psychedelic kung-fu film, doesn’t it?

I’ve been doing my normal duties of researching and digging around for articles lately, and in my search I’ve found several items pertaining to using ultraviolet light as a disinfectant in the home.  Some of these products look pretty interesting, and some of them look like pretty interesting Home Shopping Network stuff that you sell at garage sales once you realize you bought and stored something without using it, ever.  I’ll let you be the judge.

First, the UV Onion, from Yun Li:


The UV Onion is a disinfecting device that is both solar and powered by the strength of the UV ninja.  It looks like an onion, so obviously you’d probably use it in the kitchen – Yun Li’s site says it’s made for all rooms of the house.  It has a solar storage battery inside as well for those times when the sun just doesn’t shine.



Next up, the Photon Scorpion Finder Freedom Micro Keychain Light from Photon Light, Inc:


Scorpion Under Ultraviolet Light © Kenton L Elliott

Before I get any further, scorpions, you and your friend the spider can keep your creepy, nasty, misshapen butts away from me at all times.  We have nothing to talk about, ever.  Photon Light has made it so you can detect scorpions in your boots, sleeping bags, under piles of wood, and in other places these little poisonous vermin like to hide.  Apparently scorpions have fluorescent bodies, and the power of our friend the ultraviolet ninja helps to illuminate them so you can give them the boot, per se.  Nasty.

The Scorpion Finder runs about $16.  (thanks, Gadgeteer!)

scorpion finder

Next, the VIOLight Toothbrush Sanitizer from VIOLight:


Makes pretty good sense, huh?  Your toothbrush lives in the bathroom.  You take your pants off in the bathroom, along with doing all kinds of other somewhat disgusting things in the bathroom.  Often, your toothbrush lives near the sink in the bathroom where you wash your hands after doing certain relatively disgusting things in the bathroom.  Doesn’t it make sense that you might want to use the power of ultraviolet light to clean the funk off of your toothbrush?  After all, you do put it in your mouth.


Amazon has this gadget for about $40.

The next ultraviolet gadget is considerably more expensive, retailing at around $280.  Nevertheless, meet the Purelight UV Sterilizing Wand from Gaiam:


The Purelight wand has a 15,000 hour UV lamp, several settings, and the feeling that you’re crippling bacteria and other nasties forever.  Try to reproduce NOW, microscopic vermin!


The problem with anything that uses ultraviolet light is basically an issue of form factor – to disinfect something with UV light, you have to have the device in the place you want to sterilize for between 10 and 25 seconds.  With most of the devices out there (take the Purelight wand for example) you might want to sterilize your mattress, but that might take a long time depending on how large your mattress really is.  As form factor increases and prices decrease on this gear, I think the UV disinfecting trend will become more commonplace in homes.  This is of course just my opinion, and we all know how that can go.

MINUS: The Garbage Can That Doesn’t Smell Like Rotting Death

I usually notice that I forgot to throw out the bag of garbage in the kitchen around day two of the empty raw chicken package being in there, especially if it’s humid.  My beagle Gracie certainly notices if anyone puts anything in there, and she does her “I’m smelling the can but not *really* smelling the can enough so you don’t see me smelling the can” face.  How freaking adorable and disgusting.  But designer Cem Tutuncuoglu has invented a can that not only freezes your garbage, but also kicks the snot out of it with our good friend and the ninja of wavelengths, ultraviolet light.  The designer claims that the can not only kills and de-stinks your garbage, but also gives off “a pleasing light” in your kitchen.

Check out these images:




Check out Cem‘s website, but be forewarned – you’ll be bombed with a whole bunch of publicity this guy has gotten for some reason.  It’s actually a task to find his work through all of that self-love.

Photo-Sensitive Micro Storage Molecules


I am sometimes just amazed by what we can do as a collective intelligence – this is one of those cases.

Scientists have created a molecule that acts as a capsule of sorts, perhaps to deliver medication inside the body.  The molecules, when exposed to a combination of colors of light – in this case UV followed by red – unlocks the molecule to deliver its payload.  Shining green light onto the molecule “resets” the lock.  The technology was engineered with one of many purposes being to prevent medicine from not reaching a certain type of tissue.

From an article on the subject:

A lock-like molecule designed by University of Florida chemistry researchers clasps or unclasps based on exposure to light. In laboratory tests, the chemists put the lock on an enzyme involved in clotting. They then exposed the enzyme to visible and . The clasp opened and closed, clotting the blood or letting it flow.

The results suggest that the biological hardware could one day be used to prevent the formation of tiny that feed tumors. The little lock could also be placed in drugs, giving doctors the ability to release them only on diseased cells, tissues or organs — maximizing their efficacy while preventing side effects from damage to healthy tissue.

So, essentially, you could inject these molecules into the body, and as they reach the organ you need to fix, they can be triggered with this light combination, and they open up to deliver the parcel.  My first question was how to get those colors of light through thick tissue to unlock the molecule – different wavelengths of light will need to be researched for that purpose.  An interesting aspect of this technology is that we actually already have the “locking molecule,” only a chemical version.  It is apparently very slow and can get in the way of itself, if you will – the chemical made to open the molecule can sometimes hinder it from opening.  That’s convenient!

Thanks, PhysOrg!

Self-Healing Paint?

Something tells me that this new innovation isn’t going to fix the big ol’ scrapemark in our car from the battle of my wife vs. the parking garage column, but nevertheless…

Scientists have created a polyurethane topcoat-like material for automobile paint (and other stuff, I assume?) that heals itself for the most part under ultraviolet light – you know, the NINJA of the world of light wavelengths.  The principle is really interesting.  By utilizing a chemical called chitosan, found in the shells of crabs and shrimp, a protectant film has been created that bonds with nearby molecules when exposed to UV light.  It’s been tested on very thin scratches so far, but the results have been positive.  The researchers are looking at how wide the scratches can be in order to still heal with the chitosan.

I did find a small video of chitosan working to heal itself.  Check it out:

According to a Reuters article, the material only works in the same place once – after a scratch is repaired, you better not scratch it there again!

Thanks, New Scientist and Reuters!

UV Light is Found to Kick TB’s Butt

I am starting to see ultraviolet wavelengths of light as the ninja of the world of medical light.  Just recently we’ve discovered (we as in the royal we, humanity – har har) that UV light kills the MSRA Stapholococcus bacteria, and that it kills members of the Coliform family of bacteria on keyboards in hospitals.  I just read that doctors and researchers are discovering that UV light also puts the smackdown on tuberculosis, possibly cutting the spread of it in common areas and sensitive hospital rooms by almost 70%.

<whapCHA!  slap! bonk!>

If you read about drug-resistant strains of TB, you’ll discover some pretty freaking terrible news and statistics, and news of too many deaths related to infection of drug-resistant TB.  But, even drug-resistant TB gets SLAPPED in ultraviolet light.  UV light is already used to disinfect ambulances and operating rooms.

<punch – kick>

An experiment was conducted with infected patients in Peru that brought researchers to this conclusion – one C-class UV fixture was placed in a room lighting scenario with a fan to stir the air in the room, and contraction was greatly reduced.  The idea is that when a person infected with tuberculosis coughs, the bug is expelled into the air.  When a UV fixture is added to the room, the light disables the bacteria so that it can’t divide, infect, or grow.  Boom.

From an article in Science Daily about the experiment:

To reach their conclusions, scientists hung UVC lights in a hospital ward in Lima, Perú where 69 patients with HIV and TB were being treated. The researchers pumped air from the ward up to a guinea pig enclosure on the roof of the hospital for 535 consecutive days. The guinea pigs were split into three groups of approximately 150: the first group received air exposed to the UV lights in the ward, the second group received ward air treated with negative ionisers, and the third control group was given untreated air straight from the ward. The guinea pigs were given skin tests for tuberculosis once a month.

By the end of the experiment, 35% of the control group were infected with TB, compared to 14% of the ionised air group and 9.5% of the UVC group. 8.6% of the control group developed the active form of the disease after being infected with TB, compared to 4.3% of the ionised air group and 3.6% of the UVC group.


Just in case it wasn’t scary enough – ladies and gentlemen, Tuberculosis.

Thanks, Science Daily, AFP, US News, and Health Jockey!

Do You Know Where Your Keyboard Has Been?

Not too long ago I wrote about a breakthrough that scientists have had in killing a methicilin-resistant strain of the Staph bacteria with UV light.  In a gross bit of news, I learned about this little fella below:


Do you know what that nasty looking bug is above?  It’s a bacteria in the Coliform family.  Do you know where Coliform bacteria is found?  It’s most commonly found in feces.  You know, feces?  Poop?  Well, I have some news…  apparently it’s also been found on some computer keyboards in public areas, like hospitals, common areas, computer labs, and other keyboard-sharing places.  That’s almost as nasty as the bacteria count on lemon slices found in restaurants that are used in your drinks – and that bowl of lemons that’s always located by the soda fountain in places like Chipotle.  Next time you use a keyboard in a public place, will that be on your mind?

It’s been on the mind of a company called Vioguard – they’ve produced a product that combats the spread of such little nasties like the one above in hospitals – a place where having dirty hands because of a filthy keyboard could lead to a person’s death.  With an estimated 500-1000 keyboards in public areas in a large hospital, you can imagine the possibility of infection – someone uses the restroom, “forgets” to wash their hands, goes back to their computer station, maybe picks something out of their teeth…

…and the nasty story goes on.


Vioguard’s product is a keyboard that retracts into an enclosure that bathes the keyboard in Class C UV light – a well-known germicidal “agent.”  The keyboard gets sanitized, and when you need it, you wave a hand in front of an IR sensor which pops it out – limiting the amount of times you have to physically touch it.  This is a great thing for hospitals, doctors’ offices, dentists’ offices, medical folk in general who have to touch people.  Check out the video below:

The pricepoint that was initially quoted was between $499 and $599, but the creator, an ex-Microsoft hardware engineering director, says that the price should come down over time.  I bet I know some people who could benefit from having one of these in their home…


Thanks, TechFlash and Vioguard!