LED Throwies Turn Statues into Heart Attack Risks

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[Mike] has just put a new spin on LED throwies — turning innocent statues into scary possessed demons of the night. He calls them Statueyes, and while it’s not quite vandalism, you might still cause a public disturbance.

If you’re not familiar, magnetic LEDs throwies are a fun little way to add some light to the city at night. They’re a little bit wasteful (sometimes you can’t retrieve them), but so cheap to make it’s sometimes worth it. Depending on what you’re using them for they can open up a whole world of possibilities — like this location tracking augmented reality using IR LED throwies!

Anyway, the main difference with [Mike's] take on the project is he’s using home-made play-dough which allows him to stick these creepy eyes on non-metallic statues. The Play-Doh in question has an interesting ingredients list: flour, water, salt, vegetable oil and… cream of tartar? It’s the classic edible Play-Doh recipe, but to the unfamiliar it certainly sounds odd.

How cheap do you think we could make these with a simple dimming circuit? Imagine seeing a statues eyes light up as you’re walking by…

Squishy circuits for tiny tinkerers

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Getting kids interested in electronics at a young age is a great idea. Feeding their developing minds via creative projects and problem solving is not only rewarding for the child, it helps prepare the next generation of engineers and scientists. University of St. Thomas professor [AnnMarie Thomas] along with one of her student [Samuel Johnson] have put together a winning recipe for getting kids started in electronics tinkering at a very young age.

While some 5-year-olds can wrangle a soldering iron just fine, some cannot – and younger kids should probably stay away from such tools. This is where the the team from St. Thomas comes in.

They scoured the Internet looking for Play Dough recipe clones, testing the resistance and useability of each before settling on two formulas. The first formula incorporates salt, and has a very low resistance. The second contains sugar and has about 150 times the resistance of the first formula. If you use them together, you have very simple conductor and insulator substrates that can be manipulated safely by tiny hands.

As seen in the demo video below, a small battery pack can be wired to the conductive putty easily lighting LEDs, turning small motors, and more. We can only imagine the delightful smile that would emerge from a child’s face when they power on their putty circuit for the first time.

While only two different types of putty have been made so far, we would be interested to see what other materials could be integrated – how about homemade peizo crystals?

[Thanks, Spence]

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