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]

30 thoughts on “LED Goggles Make You Trip Out?

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.


  9. 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.

  10. 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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