Kraftwerk Inspired LED Tie


If you didn’t land the job after your last interview, it might have been because you were not wearing this sweet Kraftwerk-inspired necktie. Although our own [Caleb Kraft] insists that this recent creation by the folks over at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories is a tribute to him, [Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider] beg to differ.

The inspiration for the tie actually comes from Kraftwerk’s 1977 video for “The Robots”, in which the band wore black ties with embedded scrolling LEDs. The effect is very similar to that of a Larson Scanner, though Kraftwerk’s ties light the LEDs in a single direction and do not fade in and out.

EVMSL has released a firmware update to the Larson Scanner they sell in their shop that replicates the Kraftwerk effect, and they also put together a quick tutorial showing how you can construct your own coin cell-powered LED tie. We’re not suggesting that anyone rush out and buy their kit, as it can be replicated fairly easily – we just thought it was pretty cool.

So, if you’re looking for a retro-inspired Halloween costume, search no further – Evil Mad Scientist Labs has you covered.

Continue reading for a video demo of their tie, as well as the original video that inspired it.


16 thoughts on “Kraftwerk Inspired LED Tie

  1. This reminds me of a cylon costume my parents made me for a school ball when i was a wee lad back in the early eighties. I had flashy silver overalls with a papier-mâché helmet with a red led running light in it. Never got rid of the geek reputation since ;)

  2. if all you do is a one way scroll then a surface mount 16 pin pic and some flexible circuitboard and Super bright surface mount LED’s = a better tie that is invisible when off and if you conformal coat it right, you can wash it.

  3. That thing looks rather heavy to be hanging from your neck all day. I don’t know why they made the board so wide, yet did not make it wide enough to self-center in the tie (from the picture, it looks like they didn’t even get it lined up for the tie that they took a picture of).

  4. That’s pretty cool. But I get an error mesage while trying to watch an original Kraftwerk video – it says that embedding of this video is forbidden, and makes me watch it on YouTube. Not a big trouble, but it’s kinda annoying.

  5. I’ve watched Kraftwerk performances featuring the light-up ties before. This gave me an idea…. What if the LEDs could react to the music?
    I’m currently working on a similar project using Lillypad LEDs, a PIC (16F88) and the MSGEQ7 IC the Sparkfun sell, to display a VU/spectrum display on a tie.

    1. A 555/4017 combo could be used to generate the scanning pattern, but the 4017 isn’t able to source enough current to drive an LED to reasonable brightness. Something like a ULN2803A 8x transistor array would be needed.

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