Pop-up greeting cards are about to get a whole lot more interesting. Researchers at Seoul National University in Korea have created glowing 3D objects with a series of prototypes that fold thin QLED (Quantum Dot LED) sheets like origami. They used a CO2 laser to etch “fold lines” in the QLED so the sheets could be formed into 3D shapes. The bends are actually rounded, but at 5μm they appear to be sharp corners and the panels continue to illuminate across the fold lines for at least 500 folds. Some glow in solid colors, while others use smaller addressable areas to create animated matrix displays of patterns and letterforms. See the short video after the break, read the Physics World article or to see all the prototypes and dig into details of the full research paper in Nature (freed from the paywall by SharedIt).
Folded QLED Panels – forming a pyramid and a cube
Folded QLED Panels – various patterns and the 3D forms they fold into
We’re not sure how soon this technique can be duplicated in our home labs, but we can’t wait to fold up our own 3D lights and matrices. Until then, check out some glowing origami you can make right now from [Charlyn Gonda] at Remoticon 2020 and earlier that year and this amazing origami lamp.
Continue reading “Illuminating Origami Is Just Around The Corner”
Judging by the tips we get, it seems like the popularity of word clocks has perhaps started falling off lately. But back at peak word clock, we were seeing dozens of designs, some better than others. This simple but classy word clock seems to benefit from all that prior art, making the design just about as simple as it can get while still looking great.
The main tool for [t0mg]’s build is a laser cutter, which is a great choice for keeping the design simple. The tricky part of word clocks is getting the “word search” matrix executed cleanly, and we’ve seen everything from laser-cut wood to inkjet prints, and even commercially produced PCBs, used for the job. [t0mg] opted instead to spray paint a piece of glass and etch away the characters with the laser, which results in superb text quality. Etching the underside of the glass also has the advantage of protecting the paint layer while giving the finished clock a glossy face that really looks nice. Under the template lie layers of MDF that hold the Neopixel strips and act as light guides, while an ESP32 and RTC perform timekeeping and LED-driving duties. [t0mg] finished off the clock with a nice web interface to set the clock, change the colors, and perform maintenance functions. The video below shows the software in use.
We really think this clock looks great, and for those with access to a laser cutter, it seems like a great way to go about building your own.
Continue reading “This Slimline Word Clock Uses Laser Etching To Keep Things Simple”
The still image of this animated display really doesn’t do it justice. But you can get an idea of how this really does look like an old monochrome display. It’s actually a zeotrope made from LEDs and etched acrylic. The LEDs blink at a rate that synchronizes with the spinning acrylic to produce an animated image.
You probably already know that a zeotrope uses moving physical models to trick the eye into seeing an animation. In this case the models are etched into a piece of acrylic so that their outline glows when the material is edge-lit. Twelve pie piece shaped panes were designed in Inkscape to look like a scene from the Linux game World War IV. A stepper motor spins the ring which allows for the perfect synchronization seen in the clip after the break.
Continue reading “Laser-etched LED Zeotrope Looks Like A Circular Monochrome Screen”
After seeing the xkcd comic where they call the Kindle2 the hitchhiker’s guide, [Ladyada] couldn’t help but laser etch the Kindle 2 with “Don’t Panic”. We think it looks pretty good, if a bit bubbly. You can see the video of the entire process after the break. Now that xkcd has infiltrated our interwebs, hearts, and minds, maybe he can put just a tiny bit of effort into learning to draw. If you don’t have access to a laser etcher, you could always make your own. Just be careful you don’t accidentally go full out and cut your kindle to shreds.
Continue reading “Laser Etched Kindle 2”
[revolvingdork] etched his Eeepc with the entire level map of Super Mario Land for Game boy. He set the laser to 70% speed and 40% power to get it to turn out this way. This is a far safer way of expressing your self and playing with laser etching than tattooing yourself with the laser.