LED goggles make you trip out?

Who knows if this works and should you really want to try to induce hallucinations by flashing colors in front of your eyes? But we do love the zaniness of the project. [Everett's] homemade hallucination goggles come in two flavors, the small swimming-goggle-type model and the heavy-duty trip visor made from welder’s goggles. Each brings together the same components; a half ping-pong ball for each eye to diffuse the light from an RGB LED. The system is controlled by an Arduino with some buttons and 7-segment displays for a user interface. Put this together with some homemade EL wire and you’re ready for Burning Man.
[Thanks Evan]


  1. damested says:

    sam fisher?

  2. t&p says:

    They do nothing

  3. snac says:

    This is nucking futs

  4. Thomas says:

    I don’t know about tripping, but it certainly looks like a good way to go blind.

  5. mosheen says:

    You will see patterns if you close your eyes and wait long enough. It’s not hallucinations, but pretty cool if you’ve never seen them before.

  6. osgeld says:

    if you close your eyes and apply light pressure you will see fractals (like patterns)…

    anyway I cant imagine beaming bright flashing colors in your eyes could be all that healthy in the long run, and if you are getting anything off of it, its probably some light dizziness from sensory overload, you could do the same with a loud pulsating sound

  7. ENKI-][ says:

    This appears to work on the same principle as the Dream Machine.

  8. MrCritic says:

    Well I’m heavenly blessed and worldly wise
    I’m a peeping-tom techie with x-ray eyes
    Things are going great,
    and they’re only getting better
    I’m doing all right,
    getting good grades
    The future’s so bright,
    I gotta wear shades
    I gotta wear shades

    I study nuclear science
    I love my classes
    I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark glasses
    Things are going great, and they’re only getting better
    I’m doing all right, getting good grades
    The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades
    I gotta wear shades
    I gotta wear shades
    I gotta wear shades

  9. Dis Guy says:

    Go outside, look at the sun and close your eyes.
    Take your hand and wave it real fast in front of your eyes.
    You will start to see all kinds of random shapes and colors
    I think this is the same idea

  10. blech says:

    @t&p: Was that a criticism, or a Simpsons reference?

  11. Jon Neal says:

    These glasses are actually sold as a kit by Mitch Altman (of Tv-b-gone fame). He sells them as “trip glasses”. http://www.tripglasses.com/

    I tried them when I went to a soldering class he hosted and while you truly do see really cool patterns and colors I wouldn’t call it tripping. It is rather mesmerizing though!

  12. Ford says:


    Yeah, this looks like the same idea as Brion Gysin’s Dreammachine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreamachine), which I’ve tried before and really does work. If these goggles work right, you should see some strange patterns and colors.

  13. Hirudinea says:


    I think you mean “Ze Goggles, Zey do Nutsing!”

    Anyway I thought people took drugs to look cool, so these things are obviously NOT drugs!

  14. kyle says:

    wouldn’t it be easier to eat say 1/8th of psilocybe cubensis? I mean depending on your location it might be against the law but at least you would actually ‘trip’

  15. Javajunkie says:

    dont cornfield electronics (the tv-b-gone guys) do a kit of this?

  16. Jesse says:

    Looks to me like it’s inspired by the Ganzfeld Procedure, which is indeed very real.

    Put halved ping-pong balls over your eyes, tune a radio to some nice static, kick back, relax, and wait.
    Eventually, you’ll start hallucinating, if only just.
    Hearing people talk, maybe music, seeing horses running off in the distance, simple stuff usually.

    It’s real, it works, heck, it’s fun!

    And it seems to have served as some sort of inspiration for this guy.

  17. Jon says:

    It’s the Brain Machine, which is a modification of the Adafruit MiniPOV. I built one last year when Mitch Altman first came to CCCKC and put on his soldering workshop.

  18. Jon says:

    Make that: In reply to Javajunkie…

  19. chris says:


  20. Peter says:

    Its easier to make these using just led’s and a printer (lpt) port and run it via qbasic. I remember making a pair years ago. Absolutely breaks your brain on acid.

  21. yeah, you trip out when you go blind!

  22. Anonymous says:

    yeah; appears to be a real thing. Not sure I’d call it tripping, but I can say first hand that it does enhance an existing trip, definitely a bizarre experience to see your visual system hacked liked this, a little like binaural beats( but different ).

    umm.. lets see, definitely looks a lot like some of the other brain machine hacks we’ve seen. although, it seems to combine the Ganzfeld Procedure with the flicker based brain machine.

    I imagine one could tune the brightness and harshness of this to get anything ranging from the staring-at-the-sun flicker based hallucinations to more peaceful, slow modulated Ganzfeld based hallucinations.


    It sounds like the scientific literature is at least calling the patterns you see with the hand+sun trick or the brain machine “hallucinations”, though its not exactly mescaline.

  23. David says:

    I think the luminosity is safe. LEDs aren’t going to be even as bright as a white object in daylight. Its unclear if the strobing impairs the eye’s ability to adjust how much light enters, but barring that caveat, these should be safe.

    They almost certainly pose a seizure risk for susceptible individuals. So, be careful about that.

    These really do work. I’ve seen people space out to this sort of thing four hours on end. I’m not sure if said people were also stoned, or tripping,

    but you should should definitely see some pretty weird patterns, especially with the color strobes.

    my favorite quote was “its like an octagon, but with way more sides!” said by someone who was, to all knowledge, completely sober.

  24. Kwood says:

    There needs to be a bold warning that this can and will cause seizures if you are prone to them.

  25. Bermuda says:

    Could i use 5w LEDs with this?

  26. Everett says:

    Thanks, I added a warning. sorry I forgot about that.

    As you guys have mentioned, this is a somewhat common hack with a long history. I think the neuroscientist Perkinje might have been the first person to describe the phenomena in western literature, based on the simple method of waving an extended hand in front of closed eyes directed at the sun. I haven’t been able to find the original reference to “Perkinje lights” though.

    I’d be interested in finding the parallel port write-up, or instructions for a simpler version. That brain machine kit is good, but I don’t know if it can do full color Ganzfeld, which is a nice thing to have. There are definitely lots of other ways to generate these stimuli.

    We’ve definitely played with them a lot, they are good fun at parties where people might already be using hallucinogens, and they do work for -almost- everyone.

    The luminosity range of standard LEDs does -appear- to be safe, by a (statistically insufficient) poll of opticians and the internet, as mentioned above, but the seizure thing is a very real risk.


  27. Whatnot says:

    Really kwood? If you can’t figure out that if you get seizures from flashes you thus should not apply flashes to your eyes, well then obviously you can’t read either seeing you are either a 2yo or severely retarded, so a warning would be pointless.

  28. dei says:

    With these goggles, victory for the forces of democratic freedom will be ensured.

  29. philip says:

    Do you wanna make your eyes into sunny side up eggs?
    i know it was probably a joke in the first place, but, that would be a bad, bad day.

  30. hunnter says:

    Funnily enough, i used this method to concentrate better.
    Although i imagined it rather than built it.
    A circle of dots (6 at first), spinning in one eye CW, other ACW.
    It sounds easy, but it can actually be quite a task to keep “your eyes” on all the dots spinning at once.

    Helped in getting lucid dreams as well.

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