Thursday, February 16, 2006

LED Throwies: They stole my idea!

The future will be just as we imagine it in science fiction, only with a strong patina of cheap slapped on top of it. Case in point: LED throwies.

These are an interesting idea...homemade battery-powered LED-lights combined with a powerful magnet gives you a little disposable light that you can throw onto a metal surface and leave there. They're cheap enough that you can make a lot of them, and batteries have gotten good enough that you can get up to two weeks of light out of them.

But I saw this and I said, HEY -- I predicted that. Because back in 2000 I painted a picture for some friends of something kind of similar...though my thought was of something smaller and with built-in radio control. But you can have LED throwies right now...if you're willing to make them. I don't really suggest that you throw them just anywhere though....why leave batteries lying around like that?

This is much more gritty and real than anything I've seen in fiction, right down to including environmental hazards. I love it. Still want ones with Bluetooth remote control built in, though.
--------------time warp to Aaron's journal 12/20/2002 -------

Okay, so here's a wacky idea i thought of in a lunchtime conversation here at Dell: spray-on christmas lights. This is sort of nanotech. Basically, you have a spray can full of tiny lights. Each light is an integrated unit with a timer or chip brain and a battery. No, better yet, they just receive a signal from a small base station. The signal turns them on or off and the base station has a built-in timer.

This wouldn't really have to be nanotech, and maybe that wouldn't even be good: how about STICKERS. Peel-and-stick, with all the electronics built in.

Best feature of all would be to have them biodegrade when their batteries run down or on command or something.

But odds are it would be difficult to build this with current tech without including environmentally toxic materials. Still, I wonder if you could invent a cheap battery operated sticker. Also organic LEDs are being worked on, based on ideas from fireflies. They're brighter, less toxic, and may be amenable to flexible displays.

1 comment:

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