A Smile Brightens the World
January 25, 2011 10:29 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know where one can get instructions on how to make "LED smiles" (or where to buy them)?

I recently read about the "LED smile" developed by Motoi Ishibashi and Daito Manabe. The creators have been giving workshops on how to make these devices. They're apparently simple enough that children can make them, so I'm hoping I could hack it if I had instructions.

So, I'd really love to learn how to make one of these, or at least get one. Does anyone know of instructions on how to do it anywhere, free or paid, English or Japanese? I've looked around but can't seem to find anything on how to do it, just sites circulating the same story.

And while we're on the subject of LEDs and one's face, same question for these LED eyelashes

If anyone has any information it would be much appreciated. Thank you!
posted by Sangermaine to Technology (3 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
At its simplest, all you need is an LED (or a few LEDs) connected in series or parallel with a suitable resistor. You can run these from a couple of AA batteries. Use an LED calculator to enter values for your power supply and LED(s) and it'll tell you what resistor to use and how to wire them.

Of course, because you don't want electronic components that have been soldered together just sitting in your mouth, you'll need to embed them in something. I'd suggest first enclosing any bare component leads with heat-shrink tubing (to prevent shorts), then embedding the whole lot (with power lead emerging at one end) in a bit of polycaprolactone (aka Instamorph, Shapelock) , which is a hard translucent plastic that becomes mouldable when you put it in not-quite-boiling water for a few seconds.

There's a lot more involved if you want to be able to control RGB LEDs to get different colours, or if you want to flash or fade them; for that you'd need an LED controller circuit, which you could combine with the batteries in an external box.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:07 AM on January 26, 2011

And don't under any circumstances use lead-based solder for a project like this. I'd probably try to just twist the component leads together rather than use any solder at all.

An alternative to the polycaprolactone might be a food-grade silicone putty (such as this one).
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:11 AM on January 26, 2011

How about just making an "LED Throwie", minus the magnet? You could stick the thing in a non-lubricated condom to make it mouth safe : )

posted by orme at 5:34 AM on January 26, 2011

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