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Finally got around to making my casting video, outlining how I made the molds and cast the bow arms for my latest cosplay (which in turn is very similar to how I made Valeera’s daggers.) I tried to include as much as possible to make it easy to follow, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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Dutch artist and designer Daan Roosegaarde and his Studio Roosegaarde brought the Aurora Borealis to the Netherlands with an awesome installation entitled Waterlicht. Created for the Dutch Water Board using the latest LED technology, Waterlicht covered 4 acres of land along the river Ijssel, utilizing the river’s flood control channels, with lines of blue light undulating like the Northern Lights, transforming the land into a dreamscape meant to raise awareness about “the power and poetry of water.”

When walking along the river’s dike (walls used to regulate water levels), luminous lines are perceived as high water. Once in the flood channel, visitors become immersed in an underwater expanse. ‘In ‘Waterlight’ people experience what the Netherlands would look like without their dikes’ says Hein Pieper, chairman of Water Board Rhine and Ijssel. ‘Awareness is crucial, because the Dutch (water) artworks need every day maintenance and our national water awareness is the foundation of that maintenance.’ Pieper adds, referring to the OECD report published last year that concludes that Dutch water works are unparalleled by any other country, but that awareness remains at low levels.

Visit the Studio Roosegaarde website to view many more photos of Waterlicht.

[via designboom]

How to Install LEDs Into Pre-Made Eyes

OK, so I’ve seen a lot of people asking how to put LEDs into pre-made fursuit eyes and not a whole lot of answers, so this is a quick n dirty tutorial about how I did it for Volibear. This method also works for installing light-up panels, like my Volibear chest piece and Iron Man arc reactors.

You Will Need

  • Material to be lit (resin eye, plastic eye, plastic plate, whatever)
  • Aluminum tape (it’s a shiny tape like aluminum foil, can be found in hardware stores in the duct work section)
  • LEDs
  • Craft foam
  • scissors or a knife
  • hot glue gun and glue

I buy my LEDs in pre-wired strings from Amazon. It’s a string of 20 lights attached to a battery pack with an on/off switch that takes 3 AA batteries and costs just under $7. I buy them from this seller and they work great. One set of has lasted me a whole weekend at a con and a few different suit-ups that lasted a few hours each. You can also get them in a variety of colors (but might need to get them from other sellers for more variety)

These are just some of the colors you can find! I recommend looking around and getting what best matches your needs.

Now for the tutorial

  1. Cut out a thin strip of craft foam long enough to go around the perimeter of your eye (or whatever glowing element you’re making), about ¼ inch thick. Actual thickness does not matter that much, but you need a little depth. You might want to make it just a bit longer because you can always trim it later. If you’re making a set of eyes, make two and do all of the listed steps twice, once for each eye.
  2. Carefully glue the strip around the perimeter of your eye, doing just a little bit at a time so you can keep the glue from getting everywhere. Keep the foam flush with the edge of your eye so nothing peeks out and ruins the curved look.

    this is a bit thicker than it needs to be, but this is about what the foam perimeter should look like.
  3. Using a thin strip of aluminum tape, line the inside of the foam. Do this after gluing to the eye because aluminum foil does not play nicely with glue.
  4. Attach LEDs to the perimeter of foam. I tucked mine just into the dip so the back of my eye is flush. You can attach them with glue or aluminum tape, whichever is easiest. If you just bought one LED for each eye, try and get the light close to the center of the eye wire leading out. If you have something like the battery packs I recommended, put in 3-4 LEDs lining the perimeter of the eye. For two eyes, give yourself a few inches of space (skip 1-2 LEDs on the strand), and line the second eye with 3-4 LEDs like the first. You can cover the lose LEDs with tape once the eyes are installed in your head.
  5. Cover the back with aluminum tape. If you want something more durable, you can cut a piece of craft foam the size of your eye, put aluminum tape on one side, then attach it to your eye, aluminum side in. The aluminum tape reflects the light within the area you’ve made, making the source of light less visible when looking at the costume. If you have 3-4 lights per eye, the light will actually be really bright and the LEDs almost impossible to see.

    The crappy camera helps hide the LEDs, but it’s really bright and near impossible to see the individual lights and wires.

    I lined my wires inside the eye along the edge of the foam and covered them with aluminum tape. If you do that, just make sure they are secured. It might be better to line the outside of the foam with the wire. I also did not put foam on the back of my eyes and I would not recommend making that mistake. The craft foam will make your LED rig harder to access, but more secure so there should be less reason to mess with it.
  6. Now you’re done! You just have to install the eye into your head! I did mine using hot glue and E6000. The extra length of wire and battery pack will just need to be installed into your head. I built a little pouch with upholstery foam for mine so the loose LEDs are covered and don’t make everything glow.

This method really works for a lot of different props and glowing elements. I’ve used it for a lot of different light up elements with great results!

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LED Eyes for a Mask Tutorial by  ohaple

View the full tutorial here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovc_s2-S02s

Txch This Week: Smarter Smartboards And Wireless Brain Sensors

by Jared Kershner

This week on Txchnologist, researchers looking to reveal the details of how dinosaurs move have created an advanced simulation using a chicken-like bird as their model. Moving virtual bones were then dropped in to recreate how the animal’s stride disturbs the surface it travels across. The work is providing new insights into dinosaur locomotion.

Researchers in South Korea and the U.S. may have built the smartest artificial skin yet – its texture is stretchy like human skin, and it also senses pressure, temperature and humidity. It even contains a built-in heater to mimic living tissue. The researchers have tested this new artificial skin on a prosthetic hand, and their next goal is to integrate the system with a patient’s nerves so amputees can sense what it feels.

NASA reports that its Curiosity rover has uncovered details of a large lake that existed on Mars more than 3 billion years ago. This body of water partially filled a crater called Gale near the planet’s equator, which was fed by melting snow that flowed in from its northern rim. Additionally the rover has found evidence of streams, river deltas and a history of filled and dried lakes around the crater, indicating that the area went through multiple hydrologic cycles over millions of years.

Now we’re bringing you the news and trends we’ve been following this week in the world of science, technology and innovation.

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Why blue is the hardest colour

The now ubiquitous LED has been used in electrical components since 1962, and can be found everywhere from car headlights to barcode scanners. Blue LEDs are required to create white light, which makes LEDs suitable for smartphone and computer screens and bright, highly efficient, long-lasting light bulbs. But it wasn’t until 1994 that the first blue LEDs were made, earning the three inventors the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics.

So what is it that makes blue LEDs so difficult to manufacture?

Using computer simulations, scientists at UCL, in collaboration with the University of Bath and Daresbury Laboratory, looked at the properties of the main component in blue LEDs, gallium nitride, to better understand just why blue LEDs are so hard to make.

LEDs are made of two layers of semiconducting materials – one with negative charges, or electrons, available for conduction, and the other positive charges, or holes. When a voltage is applied, an electron and a hole meet at the junction between the two and a particle of light (photon) is emitted.

‘While blue LEDs have now been manufactured for over a decade, there has always been a gap in our understanding of how they actually work, and this is where our study comes in. Naively, based on what is seen in other common semiconductors such as silicon, you would expect each magnesium atom added to the crystal to donate one hole. But in fact, to donate a single mobile hole in gallium nitride, at least a hundred atoms of magnesium have to be added. It’s technically extremely difficult to manufacture gallium nitride crystals with so much magnesium in them, not to mention that it’s been frustrating for scientists not to understand what the problem was.’ Said lead author John Buckeridge.

Co-author Richard Catlow, also of UCL, explains, ‘The simulation tells us that when you add a magnesium atom, it replaces a gallium atom but does not donate the positive charge to the material, instead keeping it to itself. In fact, to provide enough energy to release the charge will require heating the material beyond its melting point. Even if it were released, it would knock an atom of nitrogen out of the crystal, and get trapped anyway in the resulting vacancy. Our simulation shows that the behaviour of the semiconductor is much more complex than previously imagined, and finally explains why we need so much magnesium to make blue LEDs successfully’.

You can view the paper here.  

For all things blue, take a look at this blog on colour.  

By Simon Frost

Cheaper Space Salads on the Menu

The energy cost to grow astronaut salads is set to seriously drop. LED lighting with a custom recipe of red and blue bulbs might be the key to keeping spacefarers on long missions well fed without taxing energy supplies. 

New research out of Purdue University has shown that leaf lettuce can grow normally with a mix of 95 percent red LED lights and five percent blue. 

In lab tests, horticulturalist Cary Mitchell and colleagues grew a variety of head lettuce called Waldmann’s hydroponically in chambers that controlled temperature, relative humidity and CO2 levels. The scientists found that targeted red and blue LEDs consumed 90 percent less energy than traditional grow systems that slurp up to 1,000 watts. Maximizing the emission of only wavelengths that the lettuce needs to grow, they also recorded 50 percent less energy use than broad-spectrum LED systems, themselves highly efficient energy sippers. 

And because LEDs produce little waste heat, bulbs can be placed an inch-and-a-half away from growing leaves without scorching them. This proximity to the plant canopy means more efficient use of space in the confines of a spaceship, less danger from burning hot traditional lightbulbs and higher conversion of electricity directly into the chemical energy plants use to grow.

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