When someone brings up silk-screening, you might think of hand-made t-shirts or concert posters. What you probably don’t think of is electric current and glowing surfaces. But at the University of Pennsylvania, traditional screen-printing and high technology are colliding to create incredible, eye-melting artistic experiments.
Orkan Telhan is an artist and Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at UPenn who works at the intersection of design, engineering, and interactivity. During last month’s visit to the Common Press, Telhan was kind of enough to show us some recent forays into the use of electroluminescent and electrochromic inks.
These are inks that respond to electric current by emitting light and changing opacity, respectively. When silk-screened onto clear plastic sheets, artists can produce gorgeous designs. Throw microcontrollers and sensors into the mix, and the possibilities are endless.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.