Fabricating Edible LEDs


They’re edible, yes. But they don’t light up. That’s fine with us, since the process [Becky Stern] used to make these gummy candy LEDs taps into several techniques handy to have under your belt.

The first part shown in her video (embedded after the jump) is to make a mold for the candies. You probably have a few bags of LEDs in your parts bin. Those along with a trough made of foam core come together to create the form for the silicone mold. After mixing, pouring, and hardening, [Becky] peels the silicone off of the LEDs and sends it through the oven to make it food-safe. Mixing up the candy uses simple ingredients (gelatin, water, and ascorbic acid) but you’ll need to follow the methodology closely to get the taste and clarity you’re used to. Syringes are used to fill the tiny voids in the mold before adding leads which were 3D printed using PLA.

These will be a huge hit at your next hackerspace meeting!

[Photo: Johngineer]

24 thoughts on “Fabricating Edible LEDs

  1. Gummies were a great idea, next time instead of 3d printing that shitty plastic, use hard candy pulled out thin, like how a candy cane is made. nobody wants questionable plastic pieces in their mouth, plus the choke hazard is pretty high for children and adults.

    >inb4 boobs comments

  2. Even though putting the silicone in the oven makes it food safe I wonder if there is a need to be worried about lead exposure from the LEDs as in the heavy metal kind not the not the printed leads.

  3. the leads could have tiny surface mount leds in one of them and then the other could have a micro battery so when you touch the leads together they light up internally….

  4. Edible LEDs could be made theoretically using a biosafe organic polymer.
    You can make something very similar using a sub threshold phosphor such as ZnS doped with silver which if you get the proportions right (salt maybe?) responds to heat by emitting stored light like a thermoluminescent dosimeter.
    This might last a few minutes or so but would certainly be impressive.
    Disclaimer:- Zn and Ag salts aren’t exactly good for you in quantity but all the elements used are basically harmless in small amounts and are used in multivitamin supplements.

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