Photonic Levitation

IMG_1657-1000At Makerfaire I got a few suggestions for the wakalong glider project but this one really stands out.

Doug was noticing the gliders flying around but he often couldn’t see the gliders themselves, just the cardboard. We were in a lower light room since there were LED displays in our area. He mentioned he knew about the gliders but a lot of people probably thought I was just running around with cardboard. A pretty funny thought. 🙂

He suggested shining a light on the glider to illuminate it (jokingly calling it photonic levitation).

What a great idea. I was thinking that this not only could it be fun to illuminate the glider but it could be a guide for how to fly the glider. For instance if you are too far back, the light could go green to tell you to speed up. Or too far forward and it could go red to slow down. This would require some sensors and a microcontroller but that’s a whole other fun area. I think it could entice people into electronics and light as well as the gliders and flight.

So I decided to do a proof of concept this evening to see what it looks like. Check out the ceiling silhouette! This is just with a CR2032 battery and an ordinary white LED. I wrapped the light with electrical tape (probably a reflector would have been better).

I think this warrants further experiment.

4 Responses to “Photonic Levitation

  • Probably a 2 color/timed lighting scheme, a bright white strobe with red becon would be so airplane like.

  • Probably a 2 color/couldtimed lighting scheme, a bright white strobe with red becon sounds like a job for paddle bourne Arduino!

    • Great ideas! I figure it should have some AAA batteries. I suppose I need to come up with a battery box that can stick on the back of the cardboard…

    • Yeah, seems like a great excuse for an arduino. Sensors might be fun too. Perhaps some IR sensors so the system knows where the plane is relative to the cardboard…