Glowing Eyes For Regular Guys

Cosplayers continually push the boundary of what’s possible in live costuming, often taking effects from the silver screen and creating them in real life. [KyleofAsgard] is no exception, bringing Thor’s glowing eyes to life in this impressive build.

The helmet is a 3D printed piece from Thingiverse, painted and distressed by hand.

The build relies on special contact lenses, which [Kyle] suggests are best sourced by searching for “electric blue contact lenses”. These glow in the presence of UV light, which here is provided by a strip of UV LEDs embedded into Thor’s helmet from the recent Marvel movies.

The concept is simple, but the attention to detail is what makes this project a winner. Not content with an earlier build that was a tangle of wires and uncomfortable to use, [KyleofAsgard] made some smart upgrades. The battery for the LEDs and all circuitry is built into the helmet, making it easy to take on and off on those long convention days. For a more impressive effect, a relay is used to turn the LEDs on by remote control with a 433MHz module. This allows [Kyle] or an assistant to trigger the effect covertly, adding plenty of drama when the eyes suddenly begin to shine. It’s all done with off-the-shelf parts that even a novice could put together.

Giving credit where it’s due, [Kyle] notes that his work was inspired by that of Instagram cosplayer [missxboof], who executed a similar concept earlier this year. It’s great to see the cosplay community coming together and sharing tips and techniques online. Of course, if your tastes are more Metroid than Marvel, you might prefer this arm cannon build. Video after the break.

[Thanks to NZSmartie for the tip!]


47 thoughts on “Glowing Eyes For Regular Guys

    1. I was just wondering if it is dangerous… I am no expert in optics and i can only guess. but dont you think the amount of light/UV emmited from some LEDs is relativly low compared to the amount of uv included in sunlight?

      i would guess it is only 1/10th or 1/100 of the light/energy of standing in normal daylight sun?

      1. There are many exposure standards for different kinds of light. You can calculate if you would exceed them and if so after how much time. I would guess you will reach most after a few minutes of operation per day…

  1. The effect is certainly cool, but did you research the effect on your skin and eyes the UV light may have? Do the contacts block the UV light from entering the cornea? Another issue is can the UV light damage the sclera (white part) of your eyes? UV light can damage your skin, as well.

    I’d check into this thoroughly before I would wear the helmet with these lights on.

      1. yea, like guys with other hobbies like fishing and golfing don’t dress up silly and bring a lot of weird, otherwise useless contraptions with them to carry around making them look even sillier. They wouldn’t look any less silly in a gorilla suit or a full metal suit of armor. …but its all fun and people need to get out and socialize so its not all bad. :-) I remember having a lot of fun at a social event running around in a gorilla suit. gotta have fun from time to time you know. The kids (and parents) really liked me to. I was a very sociable gorilla. (man that suit was hot!!)

  2. Gawd… Haven’t we gotten rid of the safety kids yet?!

    Earth to all of you dufuses: if the contacts are glowing, that means they’re absorbing (and therefore blocking) the UV.

        1. I think that really comes down to your definition of spectrum, but for me, there is some inherent bandwidth of emitted light from an LED. Thor lab advertises these graphs as spectrums of the LED, so to me, LEDs have a spectrum.


          Thats a 405 nm LED emitting from 385 nm to 440 nm. Yes yes, half bandwidth etc, by the end of it, we can only speculate on the absorptive properties of the lens and the irradiance on retina, and even if it isn’t UV content, I can imagine that an ‘intense’ light source always pointed towards your eyes could be harmful and cause retina damage, even when you’re not looking at it. I’m not an eye doctor though. By the end of it, if we had a few data sheets we could calculate the w/cm^2, find the rates suggested to cause damage vs a function fo wavelength, the attenuation of light as a function of frequency before it become incident onto the retina, and calculate the likely hood of damage.

          I’ll just stick to not looking directly at near UV LEDs though.

      1. I would not expect them to be especially spectrally selective, but also not 100% efficient in converison. Anyway, blacklight tubes are used for quite some decades in discos, even “blacklight bombs” as some people called them: 600W Hg vapor lamps with a woods glass envelope. You have quite an amount of blacklight art on goatrance festivals.

    1. They’re absorbing *some* of what’s directed at them, and re-emitting in the visible spectrum. What isn’t absorbed or reflected is transmitted. And what’s re-emitted is going inwards as well as outward. I’d be surprised if some sort of glare blindness doesn’t result from more than short use.

    2. This “safety kid” is an electrical and electronic engineer by training and a systems engineer by experience for most of the last 38 years. I have lasers and electro optical systems experience had have led research teams on advanced night vision and infrared sensor design, among other things.

      I don’t know your experience in these areas, but if you don’t have some similar experience, perhaps you should keep your snarky attitude bottled up until you can intelligently opine.

      Just because some contact lens glows doesn’t mean it has absorbed 100% of the UV light. Just because some of the light is reflected or refracted, it doesn’t mean all of it has been. Glass lenses can block all the UV, if they have been properly coated with materials that reflect / absorb all the wave bands emitted by the UV source. Plastic lenses can also be coated with materials to accomplish the same thing. The question is, are these contacts coated with the right filter materials to prevent eye damage (cornea, lens, and retina). Of course, if the contact lens doesn’t cover the sclera, it will likely absorb some of the UV light and depending upon the wavelength of that light, some damage to the cells in the sclera may be occurring. As others have said here, UV light penetrating the eye can feel like very fine sand being blown into your eye. If you do have this sensation, it is more than a strong possibility that your eyes are being damaged by the UV light. I have experienced this as a teenager when I observed a welding arc from several miles away on an overcast day- within a few minutes, my eyes felt like I had my head outside of a car window at 60 miles per hour- dry and burning. The amount of UV energy at that distance probably wasn’t more than what a UV LED emits two inches or so from your eyes. Damage is about wavelength and intensity. The issue here is that, without knowing the specifications of the LEDS and the contacts, you don’t know whether you are risking your future eyesight, or not. If you have damaged your eyes in this way, there is very little that can be done to repair that damage (if you are lucky, the lens can be replaced to correct the cataract, or you might get a cadaver cornea if that is damaged, but if your retina is damaged, that is permanent).

      You want to risk this just to be the talk of the town for a few fleeting days or weeks? Go right ahead- just know what hangs in the balance for that fleeting moment of popularity.

      1. “when I observed a welding arc from several miles away on an overcast day- within a few minutes”

        Just how big was that welding arc? Was God welding together the universe or something?

        1. JCG,

          Obviously, you speak from total ignorance- back in the day, all welding was done with welding rods, before MIG and TIG welders had come into common use. Striking an arc to get the metal fusing process started and keeping the arc going was an art. If you happened to be ignorant about staring at an arc, you would experience the sand in the eye sensation. You only have to do this once to not want to do it again. No God needed- a mere mortal with a welder is all you need to observe. If you are dumb enough to ignore a warning, just find a large, multistory office building under construction and ask a foreman when they will have welders present, so you can watch from afar. If you watch up close within, as several hundred feet, you won’t have to watch too long before you will have the sensation those more knowledgeable than you have cautioned you, of course everyone is going to tell you how stupid you were for getting the experience, but some people have to put their hand in boiling water or fingers in an energized light socket to figure it out for themselves. Good luck living a long and successful life with your attitude.

  3. Sometime in the 80iers or early 90ties the optical soft contact lenses of my brother had a similar effect. At first he noticed only blurry vision in the disco, then some girl made a quite frightened impression while looking at him. Then I noticed, his contacts were glowing blueishly. It was not as intense as in the pictures here as the lenses were not designed to do this.
    But the effect impaired his vision to some degree, just from the extra light the lenses produced. It swamped out images.

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