Wearable LEDs – LEDs Go Upscale in Fashion

We’re all familiar with the use of LEDs in children’s sneakers when each step a child takes lights up an LED in a sneaker. Now, LEDs are going upscale in clothing with designers taking advantage of LEDs for aesthetics and even going high tech to highlight your mood.

A recent Akris fashion show featured an evening gown studded with LEDs.

A recent Akris fashion show featured an evening gown studded with LEDs.

Swiss design house Akris’s Albert Kriemler used LEDs in his new ready-to-wear collection that premiered in Paris in March. Akris took cues from science and technology in designing his latest collection.  His latest show debuted two long evening dresses and a suit glimmering with constellations of tiny LED lights.

The lume collection features mood-indicating LEDs.

The lume collection features mood-indicating LEDs.

Designer Elizabeth Bigger’s Lüme Collection brings LEDs to the simple black dress and black shirts.  The collection uses embedded LEDs that can be illuminated in patterns controlled from a smartphone to bring a little fun into the clothing.  According to an article in Gizmag, Bigger’s objective was to “create a series of garments that could adapt to the users daily life, changing in color depending on the event, location, mood, or even just to match another garment or accessory.” Using a link via Bluetooth to a smartphone, the LEDs in the clothes can even mirror your mood as posted on social media, the weather forecast, or any other data to which your smartphone has access. Recently, the Lüme Collection won the Jury Prize in the Aesthetic Category at the 17th International Symposium on Wearable Computers.

Sensoree's Mood Sweater helps those with sensory disorders understand and project their moods via LEDs.

Sensoree’s Mood Sweater helps those with sensory disorders understand and project their moods via LEDs.

While most clothing designers focus on aesthetic appeal, the designer of Sensoree’s Mood Sweater focused on the practical with a medical spin. Kristin Neidlinger created the sweater during her MFA design research at the California College of the Arts for people with conditions like autism or sensory processing disorders. The mood indicating sweater can help the sweater wearer actually see how they are feeling and project those feelings to others around them.

According to an interview with The Verge, Neidlinger says she thought of it as strictly a therapeutic device, while the fashion industry started to notice it for both its technical and stylistic creativity. The sweater uses sensors to detect a certain kind of sweat in the palms of the wearer’s hands that varies depending on the wearer’s emotional state, and then translates it into multicolored light emitted by LEDs.

For Further Reading

LEDinside, LEDs Hit the Runway in AKRIS RTW Fall 2014 Collection, http://www.ledinside.com/news/2014/3/leds_hit_the_runway_in_akris_rtw_fall_2014_collection

Gizmag.com, Lüme fashions feature flexible, programmable LEDs, http://www.gizmag.com/lume-fashion-led-smartphone-programmable-wearable-electronics/29300/

The Verge, http://www.theverge.com/2014/2/26/5449322/make-it-work-what-should-fashion-look-like-in-the-age-of-connected-devices

Super Bowl Halftime Show Sparkles with PixMob LED Light Show

(Bruno Mars peforms during the Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J., Photograph by: Jeff Zelevansky , Getty Images)

(Bruno Mars peforms during the Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J., Photograph by: Jeff Zelevansky , Getty Images)

If you watched the recent Super Bowl, you were treated to a cool display of LED technology at half-time featuring Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and 80,000 people wearing special LED studded hats. Synced up with the music of Bruno Mars and the RHCP, the show filled the stadium with LED lights.

Montreal-based interactive lighting company, PixMob designed and built a unique light show specifically for the halftime show.  Each spectator at the game was handed a complimentary winter gift pack upon entering MetLife Stadium. Each swag bag included items to keep warm, one of the items was a special knit hat that they were asked to wear during half-time.

The stadium was filled with 500 LED panels as well as 14 PixMob transmitters that complemented the LEDs worn by the crowd. The 80,000 knit hats turned each member of the crowd into a pixel.  Each knit hat included three LEDs (for red, blue and green) and an infrared receiver. A PixMob controller directed the light patterns in real time. The receiver in each hat decoded the infrared signal depending on the location of the person wearing the hat, turning the lights red, white, green or blue to create animated effects syncing up with the show.

PixMob has done this type of show before.  They’ve tossed LED-filled beach balls onto audiences and used wristbands fitted with LEDs for unique light shows at music festivals like Coachella and for bands like Arcade Fire, Black Keys and Maroon 5.  There’s even speculation that they’ve got something up their sleeve for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

For Further Reading

USA Today, Here’s a guide to everything in the Super Bowl swag bag, http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/01/mike-francesa-super-bowl-swag-bag/

Montreal Gazette, Montreal firm PixMob turns Super Bowl crowd into human pixels, http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertainment/Montreal+firm+PixMob+turns+Super+Bowl+crowd+into+human+pixels/9460693/story.html

Wired, How 80,000 People Became a Human Video Screen at the Super Bowl, http://www.wired.com/design/2014/02/super-bowl-audience-became-human-video-screen/

Philips Lighting, Digital Lighting Makes a Splash at the Super Bowlhttp://www.lumec.com/blog/index.php/2014/02/04/digital-lighting-makes-a-splash-at-the-super-bowl/

Ice Orchestra Lights Up with LEDs

The ice orchestra in the Swedish town of Luleå

The ice orchestra in the Swedish town of Luleå

We like to talk about applications of LEDs on Clearlysapphire. This might be one of the most unusual applications so far. The remote Swedish town of Luleå, near the Arctic Circle, features an orchestra with instruments made of ice and LEDs. Using an igloo that seats 170 people for an auditorium, the orchestra using ice instruments has been playing music for 15 years in Sweden and around the world.

American ex-patriot Tim Linhart makes each instrument in his back yard each year – from cellos and violas to an ice xylophone, guitars, congas and a banjo – out of ice.  The finely chiseled instruments take about a week each to build, but that’s not the hardest part of the process.  Being made of ice, you need to make sure that the instruments don’t melt when played. They are so fragile that even the heat from a player’s breath will make them out-of-tune.  And, of course, you need to play them in a suitably cold environment, an ice auditorium.

Linhart uses LEDs to light the instruments bringing an otherworldly feel to the concerts.  LEDs are a perfect medium for lighting the fragile instruments because they don’t emit heat along with light.  Traditional lighting would melt the instruments.

You can see the instruments with the LEDs and listen to a performance in this story from CNN.

For Further Reading

CNN, i(ce)-Tunes: Sweden’s incredible ice orchestra, http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/21/travel/swedish-ice-orchestra-2/

Sochi Olympic Venues Light Up with LEDs

The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia begin in just a few weeks on February 7th with the Opening Ceremonies.  The buzz about the Olympics is only just beginning.  This week Clearlysapphire focuses on the lighting for the games. Unlike many Olympic cities, Russia’s Sochi had to start from scratch and build their entire Olympic infrastructure from scratch. This did allow organizers to focus on building green, including installing green lighting using standards developed by the Russian Federation.  In total 200 buildings were built according to these standards, the first applied to construction in Russia, for the Games.

Organizers selected LEDs for lighting several key venues including Fisht Olympic Stadium, Bolshoy Ice Dome, Shayba Arena, and the Iceberg Skating Palace.  We’ll focus on two of them here.

The Bolshoy Ice Dome, to be used for hockey, features an innovative aluminum roof studded with 38,000 LEDs. Inspired by an ice drop, the roof will light up at night in vibrant colors like this photo. The facility will seat 12,000 people and will be used for concerts and sporting events after the Olympics. Fact:  Bolshoy means “major” in Russian.

Bolshoy Ice Dom, Sochi, Russia, lit up with LEDs, is home to ice hockey.

Bolshoy Ice Dom, Sochi, Russia, lit up with LEDs, is home to ice hockey.

The second building we’ll focus on is the Shayba Arena, also one of the ice hockey venues for the Olympics.  It features the latest in LED scoreboard technology installed by ColosseoEAS, a Slovakian company and a European leader in sports arena technology.  Shayba’s aluminum exterior features 45,000 programmable LEDs.  After the Olympics, the 7,000 seat Shayba will be dismantled and transported to another city in Russia for use as an ice sports facility.  Fact:  Shayba means “puck” in Russian.

Shayba Area is also home to Olympic ice hockey.

Shayba Area is also home to Olympic ice hockey.

For Further Reading

Official Web Site for Sochi 2014, http://www.sochi2014.com

Sports Illustrated, All-new Sochi Olympics venues a spectacle of lights, ice, http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/-olympics/news/20140106/sochi-winter-olympics-stadiums/

Sports Illustrated, First look: Sochi Olympic hockey will live in lights and ice domes, http://nhl.si.com/2014/01/09/first-look-sochi-olympic-hockey-will-live-in-lights-and-ice-domes/

 

 

 

 

 

Shining Bright: Holiday LED Lighting 2013

‘Tis the season for LED holiday displays. Here’s a round-up of some rather interesting displays in 2013.

Rockefeller Center, New York, New York

This world famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, a 75-year-old Norway spruce, is illuminated by 45,000 rainbow LEDs and features a 550 lb., 9.5-foot-wide Swarovski crystal star on top.

Rock Center xmas 2013 2

 

 

 

 

 

The National Christmas Tree, Washington, DC

GE provided the design and lights for the National Christmas Tree for the 51st time this year. This year’s tree features 110 LED net lights and 225 LED string sets – all Energy Star® qualified, and 265 LED spherical ornaments. The total wattage is about 5700 watts – saving 80% energy as compared to incandescent holiday lights.  That’s equal to saving one ton of coal, and nearly a 5700-pound reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

National Xmas Tree 2013

 

 

 

 

Trafalgar Square, London, England 2013

Each year since 1947 Norway’s capital city Oslo has donated Christmas tree for Trafalgar Square, to thank Britain for its support during World War II.  The tree stands 20 meters tall and features about 900 LED lights.

Trafalgar Square 2013 Tree

 

 

 

 

 

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Sponsored by Bradesco Seguros, this Rio tree is the largest floating Christmas tree in the world. Towering 85 meters into the sky, the tree floats slowly around the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas in Rio’s Zona Sul (South Zone) throughout the holiday season.  It features over three million microlights, two thousand strobe effects, one hundred meters of hoses and one hundred LED reflectors.

Rio X mas Tree

 

 

 

 

 

Delray Beach, Florida

The 100-foot tall Christmas tree is festively illuminated with over 15,000 LED lights, carefully decorated with 39,000 ornaments, and contains 3000 branches.

Del Ray Beach 100 Ft Christmas Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shiodome, Tokyo, Japan

The Caretta Shiodome, a shopping, dining and entertainment complex, located in the elegant 51-story Dentsu Building, hosts the “White X’mas in the Sea” featuring a vast ocean of LED lights and an illuminated, animated display on the walls of the shopping center.  The light show incorporates interactive 3D projection mapping, allowing visitors to influence the appearance of the video sections of the illumination and the rhythm of the soundtrack by clapping their hands.  Here’s a link to a video showing how the display was put together as well as its premier complete with school kids clapping.

Tokyo Shiodome 2013 Xmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Further Reading

Clearlysapphire.com, The Evolution of Christmas Lights – From Incandescent to LED, http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=313

 

LEDs Help Gravity Movie Makers Simulate Zero-Gravity

Sandra Bullock stars in the film Gravity (Warner Brothers)

Sandra Bullock stars in the film Gravity (Warner Brothers)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may have seen news about the new George Clooney and Sandra Bullock movie Gravity. The movie details the story of how two shuttle astronauts deal with a shuttle accident while servicing the Hubble Space Telescope.  The movie includes stunning shots showing the actors floating in space.  One trick that the filmmakers used to simulate zero-gravity was LED lighting.

While many movies like Apollo 13 have used parabolic airplane flights to show zero gravity, the director of Gravity wanted longer shots.  The parabolic airplane flights only give you 20 to 30 seconds of weightlessness at a time, so director Alfonso Cuarón looked into alternatives.  Some scenes relied on the actors swimming underwater. Others suspended the actors from wires with puppeteers pulling strings while robots filmed from various angles.

However, the most surprising zero-gravity shot tool was a very large LED light box enclosure filled with thousands of programmable LED lights.  The lights were programmed to show scenes of Earth and space. With the actors inside the enclosure, robotic cameras captured close ups of the actors faces to simulate space.  While the actors were stationary, the light patterns were not, simulating motion and something that appeared to be weightlessness.  The nice thing about this technique was that the actors could see exactly what was happening so they could react to their visual references.  The various shots were blended into the final movie simulating zero gravity.

You can see the trailer here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiTiKOy59o4

For Further Reading

NBC, Movie Tech: How ‘Gravity’ threw Sandra Bullock into zero gravity, http://www.nbcnews.com/science/how-gravity-threw-sandra-bullock-zero-gravity-big-screen-8C11326787

The Daily Beast, Alfonso Cuarón on the Making of His Instant Sci-Fi Classic ‘Gravity’, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/10/03/alfonso-cuaron-on-the-making-of-his-instant-sci-fi-classic-gravity.html