I do my best work at night. It’s when I have the ideas that I’m most excited about. Often times this enthusiasm will actually cause me to get out of bed to make a quick prototype of the idea before returning to sleep for the rest of the night. In this moment, I find overhead or lamp lighting to be too intense for my tired eyes that have just spent the last few hours in darkness. I’ll often sit at my desk or on my bed with a flashlight in my mouth to put together a quick circuit or draw a quick sketch of my idea. This is helpful because the light maintains to have the same directionality as my body as I work but doesn’t produce a retina blinding amount of light.
It’s safe to saw that holding a flashlight in my mouth isn’t the most comfortable way to work. When tasked to make a flashlight, I tried to consider the ways in which this design could help solve my problem. In addition to emitting light and being portable, I thought it would be useful for my flashlight to be wearable, and mounted in such a way that the light emits in the direction that my body is facing so that my workshop can be illuminated but the room can stay dark.
This is the kind of thing that came to mind immediately. An origami shape made of a semi-translucent material that could produce a bright light in a diffused manner.
I went and bought a few supplies and dug my electronic components out of my parts bin.
– an exacto knife
– a cutting mat
– a pair of scissors
– a pin
– a ruler
The materials were as follows:
– semi-translucent plastic duatang cover. I chose this because I knew that I could fold it, crease it and use adhesives on it.
– large super bright LED
– 3.3v battery
– many types of tape: satin finish scotch tape, double sided tape and copper tape
– reflective sheets from a lighting gels sample pack
I then used a rule to measure and draw out the origami pattern. I ended up making a pyramid shape instead of an octagonal shape because I wanted something that had a clear base shape (in this case, the only square in a shape made up of triangles) so that it would lay flat on my chest. With this design, I could put it on correctly, even if I was fumbling around in the dark. I made created a paper template for the side triangles so that they would all be a similar size.
In order to make the folds nice and clean, I had to use the exacto knife to score into the plastic, being careful not to cut all the way through.
Once that was done, I picked between two intensities of LEDs. I liked the larger one because the light was less pointillize and more dispersed.
I tested to ensure that the battery worked by putting the positive and negative leads of the LED on the respective sides of the battery. Then I made a little prototype with some conductive tape and alligator clips to practice laying out my circuit.
I knew I wanted the triangular side of the pyramid to emit light and that the light would be wasted if it was able to pass through the bottom of the shape (the side that was going to lay flat against my chest). I decided to use a piece of reflective material from an old lighting gel kit to help the light to be sent in the right direction. I applied it using the double sided tape.
I then used a pin to poke to wholes in the base, positioned wide enough apart to account for the distance between the leads of the LED.
Then I attached the battery with the conductive tape and folded up the sides with the double sided and matte finish tape. I chose the matte finish tape because I thought it might match the finish of the semi-translucent duatang material.
Here are a few images and videos of the final project.