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November 26, 2014 AT 5:00 am

Purple Dragonfly Gets a Glow from the Sun #WearableWednesday

I was just having a conversation the other day on Google+ with a friend about the way electronics themselves can be beautiful. This dragonfly necklace by Lumen is my new favorite example of how parts can use their form to create beautiful artistic shapes. Actually, showing off the beauty of electronics is the mission of Lumen’s engineers/siblings, Marty and Robin Lawson. Robin offers a behind-the scenes tour of their process on their blog.

The necklace starts with a custom circuit board with the tell-tale insect shape. Their circuit diagram can even be included as part of the art, as it resembles an animation cell. Robin explains the layers.

Each color represents a different layer of the manufacturing process.  The layers include copper traces on top and bottom, printing on top and bottom, solder mask top and bottom, holes, and the board outline.

DragonCircuit

DragonBoards

Parts are added with solder paste and baked in ovens, right at Lumen’s studio. Embedded in the wings are surface mount LEDs, as well as small solar cells. This jewelry is sans batteries, but has a USB connection in case you forget to charge it through Mother Nature.

The dragonfly is on its eighth design, and the blue ones in the pic have morphed into the new purple ones seen in the video. The darker color actually shows off the tech even better, proving that good things are worth the wait. For Robin, it is all part of the work.

The journey into a work of art is a highly labor intensive process that takes many days to complete.

If you need the look now, you should visit Lumen’s site for some great solar jewelry. However, if you are curious how to get started on your own LED jewelry, we’ve got a fun tutorial for you — the Space Invader Necklace. Make your neck a blinky festival.

led_matrix_pendant-anim


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