sketching with LEDs

A very inspiring TED Talk from Leah Buechley, head of the High-Low Tech research group at MIT’s Media Lab: “How to “Sketch” with Electronics

Buechley uses copper- or silver-based conductive ink to draw circuits on paper.  She also demonstrates how to use stickers with ferrous metal to act as a bridge between paper and small electronic boards.  The second half of her presentation demonstrates some beautiful “pop-up” books with integrated lighting.  I think this is highly applicable to lighting designers:  What a terrific concept for quick lighting studies.  Figuring out a way to bond LEDs to paper, along with cheap flexible circuits, will allow designers to make quick scale model paper prototypes of lighting, particularly of interactive lighting concepts.  This idea goes along very nicely with my previous post of using intelligent “toy” blocks or other data-infused tangible objects for setting up quick study models.

The conductive ink specifically is:

Less EMF: CuPro-Cote paint (copper-based, highly conductive and relatively cheap but prone to corrosion)
Conductive Compounds: WB-1010 Silver Ink (silver, highly conductive, expensive)