Flashlight: False Fingers
Updated: Feb 12, 2020
Prompt: Create a flashlight. IE anything that illuminates, has a switch, and is portable
Concept: The general idea was to create some wacky finger extensions similar to the fun ones you would find at a gag store and have them have lights at each end
Materials: Polymer Clay, LED, Circle cell batteries, circle cell battery holder
My first trip was to the junk shelf where I found some toys with mini light circuits in them. I pulled them out to get a better understanding of how I could recreate them.
My very first step was to investigate light circuits. While it should be simple I struggled to understand how they worked, so I focused one day on building small LED circuits from the battery. I found that I blew out the yellow LED's without a resistor, so chose blue instead to simplify the circuit (blue seemingly does not need one?).
I has also had to think about the voltage and how many batteries were needed per light. I found I could light only 1 LED bulb with 2 AA batteries (3V). So I realized that AA were not the best option if I wanted these fingers to be wearable because I would need a lot of them. I turned to circle cell batteries that had more voltage and were more compact.
I then made the "false fingers" out of oven bake polymer clay to get a hard shell that could fit on my fingers. Each was hollow and had a hole at the very top for the LED light.
In a one finger test the light worked perfectly. However, when I started to plug more in I had realized that I hadn't calculated the total voltage required. So I now needed 4 Circle cell batteries. Once I had all the batteries, each finger could be powered.
I made the mistake of not working around my product being a wearable from the beginning. A couple problems included the wires not being flexible. If I truly wanted to wear it I would have to research wires made for wearables that had more flex and less tension.
The smallest breadboard I had is too large to fit in my palm or my wrist. Also, breadboard is not quite as permanent as I had intended. Wires can easily fall in and out, so a board that I could have soldered to would have been more substantial.
How to wear the thing: because of the messy wire situation, I had trouble fixating the whole device on my hand or wrist. Tape became my ultimate situation.
Because the wire cavities (the inside of the fingers) were so small and the ends or the wires are not insulated, they easily touch, causing the LED not to light up. I haven't thought of situation except insulate the ends better so they do not touch.
I am happy with what I learned this week, but I want to continue with this idea to reach my final goal.